Riyadh says oil facility attacks target world supplies
Saudi Arabia said Wednesday (May 15th) that attacks on two of its oil tankers and a major pipeline targeted not only its own security but that of the world's supplies, AFP reported.
Drone attacks claimed by the Iran-backed Houthis (Ansarallah) shut down one of the kingdom's main oil pipelines on Tuesday, further ratcheting up Gulf tensions after the mysterious sabotage of four ships on Sunday.
"The cabinet affirms that these acts of terrorism and sabotage ... do not only target the kingdom but also the security of world oil supplies and the global economy," it said after a Tuesday meeting chaired by King Salman in Jeddah.
Tuesday's drone strikes hit two pumping stations on the kingdom's east-west pipeline, which can carry five million barrels of crude per day and provides a strategic alternative route for Saudi exports if the shipping lane from the Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz is closed.
Saudi tankers Al-Marzoqah and Amjad suffered "significant damage" in as yet unexplained sabotage attacks in the Sea of Oman off the UAE on Sunday, Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said, but there were no casualties or any oil spill.
Neither Saudi Arabia nor the UAE have yet given details on the exact nature of those attacks.
An Emirati official said the US, France and Norway would be part of an investigation into the ship attacks, along with the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
The ships -- which also included the Norwegian tanker Andrea Victory and an Emirati vessel -- were docked in the sea off the coast of the emirate of Fujairah, the official added.
Saudi Arabia, the world's largest exporter of oil, currently pumps around 10 million barrels per day of which around seven million bpd are exported.
At present, most Saudi exports are loaded onto tankers at terminals on the kingdom's Gulf coast and must pass through the Strait of Hormuz.