Two Saudi pumping stations attacked by drones

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Two oil pumping stations serving a major East-West oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia were attacked by explosive-laden drones on Tuesday, with the damage currently being assessed, the minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid bin Al-Falih has said.

The pipeline transports oil from the oilfields in the Eastern Province to the port of Yanbu on the west coast.

According to Al Falih, the two Saudi pumping stations were attacked between 6 am and 6.30 am on Tuesday, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

The attack resulted in a fire at station No. 8, which was controlled after causing “limited damage”, the report said.

Saudi Aramco has stopped pumping in the pipeline, until the damage has been assessed and the station repaired.

However, Al-Falih stressed that the production and exports of Saudi crude oil and products will continue “without interruption”.

The attacks come after Saudi confirmed that two of its oil tankers were among the four vessels attacked off the coast of the UAE on Sunday.

The UAE did not describe the nature of the attack or say who was behind it.

“The kingdom condemns this cowardly attack. This act of terrorism and the recent act of sabotage in the Arabian Gulf against vital installations not only target the kingdom, but also the safety of the world’s energy supply and the global economy,” the report said.

“It reaffirms the importance of addressing all the terrorist groups carrying out such acts of sabotage, including the Iranian-backed Houthi militia in Yemen.” The conflict in Yemen has been widely seen as an extension of the Iran–Saudi Arabia proxy conflict and as a means to combat Iranian influence in the region. In 2018, the United Nations warned that 13 million Yemeni civilians face starvation in what it says could become “the worst famine in the world in 100 years.”