Saudi Arabia says drone attacks knocked out half of its oil supply
Mike Pompeo blames Iran for the strike, Tehran calls Washington's allegations 'meaningless'
Dubai: The drone attacks on the world's largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia and a major oil field on Saturday, knocked out about half of the supplies from the world's largest exporter of oil.
They raise concerns about the global oil supply and likely will further increase tensions across the Persian Gulf amid an escalating crisis between the US and Iran over its unravelling nuclear deal with world powers.
The attacks resulted in "the temporary suspension of production operations" at the Abqaiq oil processing facility and the Khurais oil field, Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said in a statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. The fires "were controlled," the statement said, and no workers were injured.
The fires led to the interruption of an estimated 5.7 million barrels in crude supplies per day, according to the statement, which said part of that would be offset with stockpiles. The statement said Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil giant, would provide updated information in the next 48 hours.
The US blamed Iran for the attack on Saudi Arabia's Abqaiq plant, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeting, "Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply."
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi on Sunday dismissed Pompeo's remarks as "blind and futile comments." "The Americans adopted the 'maximum pressure' policy against Iran, which, due to its failure, is leaning towards 'maximum lies,'" Mousavi said.
Houthi leader Muhammad al-Bukh reiterated his group's claim of responsibility on Sunday, telling AP it exploited "vulnerabilities" in Saudi air defenses to strike the targets.
Ready for war with US, threatens Iran
Iran on Sunday dismissed US accusations it was behind the drone attacks. Meanwhile, Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh, commander of Aerospace Force, said, "Neither us nor the US want a war. Some forces in the field could do something, by which a war could start. We have always prepared ourselves for a full-fledged war... all American bases and their vessels in a 2,000-km range can be targeted by our missiles."
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