Iranian-backed militants have claimed responsibility for a drone attack on the world's largest oil plant that could cut the world's supply by half.
Immense fires have been seen which have swallowed up two large oil plants in Saudi Arabia, one in Abqaiq, Bugayg, and its second largest oil field in Khurais, at around 4 am on Saturday The sun.
The Khurais oil field produces about one percent of the world's oil and Abqaiq is the largest structure and can produce seven percent of the global supply.
According to sources, 5 million barrels were destroyed per raw production day.
This equates to at least half of the Kingdom's daily production of 9.65 million which is shipped worldwide.
The fires began after the sites were "targeted by drones," the Interior Ministry said in a statement released by the Saudi state-owned news agency.
He said an investigation was underway.
The United States blames Iran
The United States has declared that Iran was behind the attack.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Tehran for the attack calling it an "unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply" and refuted a claim of responsibility by Houthi rebels linked to Iran in Yemen.
"Tehran is behind almost 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while [the Iranian president] Rouhani and [the Iranian foreign minister] Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy," said Pompeo in a tweet. "Of all the downgrading requests, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply. There is no evidence that the attacks came from Yemen."
On Saturday, the Houthi rebels said they had launched a 10-drone attack, one of the most significant attacks by the rebel group in the Saudi kingdom.
According to Saudi state television, Saturday's attack did not interrupt the oil exports of the kingdom.
however, the Wall Street newspaper and the US broadcaster CNN, citing unnamed sources, said the kingdom has reduced oil production by five million barrels a day, almost half of the country's entire oil production.
The attack caused fires in two facilities operated by the Saudi state oil giant Aramco in the eastern province of Buqyaq, according to a spokesman for the Saudi Interior Ministry.
The fires were subsequently brought under control, according to the Saudi official. A military spokesman for the rebels said the attack was a "legal response" to a current Saudi-led military campaign.
"We promise the Saudi regime that our next operations will expand and be more painful," the rebel spokesman added, according to pro-Houthi al-Masirah television.
"The Saudi regime has no solution but to stop the aggression [in Yemen]," the Houthi official said.
Meanwhile, Saudi private television Al Arabiya reported that the attack did not cause casualties.
US President Donald Trump spoke with Saudi crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman and offered his "support for Saudi Arabia's self-defense", said Judd Deere, White House press secretary.
"The US government is monitoring the situation and remains committed to ensuring that global oil markets are stable and well supplied," he said.
Martin Griffiths, UN envoy to Yemen, condemned the attack as "extremely worrying".
He called on all parties to exercise restraint and prevent further incidents, "which pose a serious threat to regional security, complicate the already fragile situation and jeopardize the UN-led political process". In recent months, the Houthi have stepped up their missile and drone attacks in neighboring Saudi Arabia.
Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Arab world, has been blocked in a devastating power struggle between the Houthis and the Saudi-backed government since the end of 2014.
The Saudis fear that the Houthis will give their regional rival Iran a strategic support point in the Arabian peninsula.
The rebels currently control the capital of Yemen, Sana'a and other parts of the country.
WHAT THE ATTACK FOR THE WORLD OIL MEANS
The US Energy Department states that the United States "is ready to distribute resources from strategic oil reserves, if necessary to compensate for any disturbances in the oil markets".
In a statement on Saturday evening, the department stated that Secretary of Energy Rick Perry also directed the department's management to work with the International Energy Agency on the potential options available for an & # 39; collective global action, if necessary.
The nations of the IEA of 30 members try to respond to interruptions in the supply of oil and to defend energy policy.
US strategic oil reserves hold 630 million barrels.
The Minister of Energy of Saudi Arabia has confirmed that the attacks have eliminated about 50% of the country's production and said it will compensate for part of the loss with oil stocks.
In a statement released by the Saudi press agency, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz states that, according to preliminary estimates, 5.7 million barrels per day of oil production and also the supply of ethane were lost. natural gas has been reduced by half.
He says that Aramco will provide up-to-date information within 48 hours of restoring full production.
Prince Abdulaziz states that the attacks were aimed not only at Saudi Arabia, but also at the supply of oil to the world and its security.
MOUNTING THE VOLTAGES
The Abqaiq oil treatment plant is described as the "largest in the world" and uses vital sea routes over the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea.
He was targeted by al-Qaeda suicide bombers in February 2006, who failed to detonate him.
The war broke out in 2015 with the rebel Houthi movement aligned with Iran, which is fighting against the Yemeni government and a Saudi-led coalition.
The violence pushed Yemen to the brink of famine and killed more than 90,000 people since 2015, according to the US-based Armed Event Location Data Project.
Now the coalition launches air strikes almost every day, while the Houthis often launch missiles in Saudi Arabia.
Tensions have also increased in the region due to the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Saudi Arabia and the United States both blamed Iran for attacks in the Gulf against two tankers in June and July.
And in May, four oil tankers – two Saudi flags – were damaged by explosions in the territorial waters of the United Arab Emirates in the Gulf of Oman.
The rivalry in the shipping lanes was further exacerbated in June, when Iran brought down an American surveillance drone on the Strait of Hormuz.
This led the Pentagon to announce the deployment of US troops in Saudi Arabia.