Saudi Arabia oil pipeline attacked by explosive-laden drones
RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA — An oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia was targeted by drones amid heightened tensions in the gulf.
According to Gulf News, Saudi Arabia's energy minister said that explosive-laden drones attacked two oil pumping stations for the East-West oil pipeline.
The Associated Press reports that the two stations are located in al-Duadmi and Afif, several hundred kilometers west of Riyadh.
Government-controlled oil company Saudi Aramco temporarily shut down the pipeline as a precaution, and contained a fire that caused minor damage to one pumping station.
Oil and gas supplies were not affected.
According to AP, Saudi Arabia is currently at war with the Houthi rebels in Yemen, who claimed to have launched seven drones targeting vital Saudi installations.
The Houthis later claimed responsibility for the pipeline attack.
Saudi Arabia's 1200-kilometer East-West pipeline was built in the 1980s and has a total capacity of 4.8 million barrels of oil a day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
It serves as an alternative channel for crude exports should the vital Strait of Hormuz be closed - something Iran has repeatedly threatened to do.
The Tuesday attack occurred mere days after four oil tankers were damaged off the coast of the UAE port of Fujairah in what the Saudis describe as sabotage.
Details of the alleged sabotage to the tankers - two of which are Saudi, one Norwegian, and one Emirati - remain unclear.