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Aramco contains fire at oil sites after militia attack

Aramco contains fire at oil sites after militia attack

Dubai: Update: Saudi Aramco contained fires at two of its facilities in the world's largest oil-exporting region after attacks that Yemen's Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for.

The facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais were attacked at 4 a.m. local time, state-run Saudi Press Agency reported, citing an unidentified interior ministry spokesman. It didn't give further details. Most of the oil produced in Saudi Arabia is processed at Abqaiq before export or delivery to refineries.

The militia launched "a large-scale operation involving 10 drones that targeted refineries in Abqaiq and Khurais in eastern Saudi Arabia," Al Masirah said.


Fire under control

Drone attacks on two Saudi Aramco factories in Abqaiq and Khurais provinces on Saturday sparked fires that the state oil company brought under control, the Saudi interior ministry spokesman said without identifying the source of the drones.

The precise targets and the extent of possible damage were unclear. Aramco did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Abqaiq, 60 km southwest of Dhahran in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, contains the world's largest oil processing plant. Khurais, 190 km further southwest, contains the country's second largest oilfield.


'Targeted by drones'

Drone attacks targeted a major Saudi Aramco processing facility and oilfield in eastern Saudi Arabia Saturday, the Interior Ministry said, sparking a huge fire at one of the sites before dawn. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

It wasn't clear if there were any injuries in the assault on the processing plant in Buqyaq and at the Khurais oil field. Online videos apparently shot in Buqyaq included the sound of gunfire in the background. Smoke rose over the skyline and glowing flames could be seen a distance away.

The fires began after the sites were "targeted by drones," the Interior Ministry said in a statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.


Earlier report

An explosion and fire has struck a major Saudi Aramco oil processing facility in the kingdom's east, a Saudi-owned satellite channel reported on Saturday, without offering a cause for the blast.

Online videos apparently from Buqyaq, which is near Dammam in the kingdom's Eastern Province, included the sound of gunfire in the background. Smoke rose over the skyline and glowing flames could be seen a distance away.

State media in Saudi Arabia did not immediately report on the incident. Requests for comment sent to Aramco and officials in the kingdom were not immediately acknowledged.

The Dubai-based satellite channel Al Arabiya first acknowledged the blaze, citing its own correspondent in the area. The channel said the blaze had been brought under control, without elaborating or offering a cause.

Saudi Aramco describes its Abqaiq oil processing facility there as "the largest crude oil stabilization plant in the world."

The facility processes sour crude oil into sweet crude, then later transports onto transshipment points on the Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea. Estimates suggest it can process up to 7 million barrels of crude oil a day.

The plant has been targeted in the past by militants. Al Qaida-claimed suicide bombers tried but failed to attack the oil complex in February 2006.

There was no immediate impact on global oil prices as markets were closed for the weekend across the world. Benchmark Brent crude had been trading at just above $60 a barrel.

Buqyaq is some 330 kilometers (205 miles) northeast of the Saudi capital, Riyadh.