Jeddah, SAUDI ARABIA, August 17, 2019 – A drone attack launched by Yemen’s Houthi group on an oilfield in eastern Saudi Arabia on Saturday caused a fire at a gas plant but had no impact on oil production, state-run oil company Saudi Armenco said.
A Houthi military spokesman said earlier that the group had targeted the Shaybah oilfield with 10 drones, in what he said was the “biggest attack in the depths” of the kingdom, the world’s top oil exporter, by the Iran-aligned group.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al Falish described Shaybah as a “vital facility”.
“The target of this attack is the safety of the global oil supply, not just the kingdom; it constitutes a threat to the global economy”, he said in comments published by the official Saudi Press Agency.
Saudi Aramco said there were no injuries and no interruptions to oil operations.
“Saudi Aramco’s response team controlled a limited fire this morning at the Shybah NGL (natural gas liquids) facility”, the company said in a statement.
Shayba is more than 1,000 km (600 miles) away from Houthi – controlled territory in northwestern Yemen.
The field is located near the border with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia’s main partner in the Sunni Arab coalition that has been battling the Houthis since 2015 in a bid to restore Yemen’s ousted pro-Saudi government.
“The drone operation today is an important warning to the Emirates”, said the Houthies’ leader, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, in comments tweeted by a pro-Iranian news website, Union News.
The Houthies have stepped up cross-border missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia in recent months.