Saudi stocks dip 3 per cent in first session after oil attack

Mike Pompeo

Mike Pompeo

"Any attack on Saudi Arabia is sure to shake oil markets because they now hold the majority of spare crude production capacity", warned Bernadette Johnson, vice president of market intelligence at energy analysts, Enverus.

Growing rebel attacks underscore how Saudi infrastructure, including oil installations, are increasingly vulnerable to the Huthis' steadily advancing weaponry - from ballistic missiles to unmanned drones.

The drone attacks affected up to half of the supplies from the world's largest exporter of oil, though the output should be restored within days, multiple news outlets reported, citing unidentified sources.

First word of Saturday's assault came in online videos of giant fires at the Abqaiq facility, some 330 kilometres (205 miles) northeast of the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

In an attack claimed by Al-Qaeda in February 2006, suicide bombers with explosive-laden vehicles attempted to penetrate the processing plant, killing two security guards.

Abqaiq was the site of a terrorist attack attempt by al-Qaeda on February 24, 2006, targeting the oil processing facility.

Saudi Arabia has promised to fill in the cut in production with its reserves, but has not said how long it will take to fix the damage.

The country produces 10% of the world's crude oil.

United Nations investigators said the Houthis' new UAV-X drone, found in recent months during the Saudi-led coalition's war in Yemen, likely has a range of up to 1,500 kilometres.

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The group has responded with similar threats and several attacks since the peace talks were first called off. On the following day, a suicide vehicle bomb killed four soldiers at a commando base in the Afghan capital.

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The agreement made by his predecessor, Theresa May, was rejected three times by Britain's Parliament, prompting her to resign. Over the weekend, Mr Johnson likened Britain leaving the European Union to the Incredible Hulk breaking free from manacles.

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Buildings that sustained structural damage during Dorian could be damaged even further despite Humberto not making a direct hit. The islands did get some rain, Van Dam said, but they did not get Humberto's full impact.

The growing sophistication of the Houthis' drone operations is bound to renew the debate as to where this capability comes from.

Riyadh accuses Iran of arming the Houthis, a charge both of them deny.

Houthi leader Muhammad al-Bukhaiti reiterated his group's claim of responsibility, telling The Associated Press on Sunday it exploited "vulnerabilities" in Saudi air defences to strike the targets. "We'll have to wait and see how they'll (the administration) marshal the evidence".

"Tehran is behind almost 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy".

Drone technology, albeit of varying degrees of sophistication, is available to all - from the U.S. to China, Israel and Iran - and from the Houthis to Hezbollah.

The coalition launches air strikes nearly every day, while the Houthis often fire missiles into Saudi Arabia.

"We promise to widen our attacks as long as the Saudi regime's aggression and economic blockade against our country continue", Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea was quoted as saying after Saturday's attacks. Last month, a similar attack was carried out by Yemen's Huthi rebels, which sparked fire at Aramco's Shaybah natural gas liquefaction facility.

Iran on Sunday dismissed U.S. accusations it was behind drone attacks on Saudi oil installations, suggesting the United States was seeking a pretext to retaliate against the Islamic republic.

"Because of the tension and sensitive situation, our region is like a powder keg", said Iranian Brig.

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