PortandTerminal.com, September 15, 2019
Largest oil stabilization plant in the world hit by Houthi drones. 5 million bbl/day of capacity knocked out overnight. “Abqaiq is the heart of the system and they just had a heart attack”.
RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA – Saudi Arabia’s oil production was cut by half after a swarm of explosive drones struck at the heart of the kingdom’s oil industry and set the world’s biggest crude-processing plant ablaze. Roger Diwan, an OPEC oil analyst who covers the region put it simply “Abqaiq is the heart of the system and they just had a heart attack,”
At around 4:00 a.m. local time, Saudi Aramco reported that it was dealing with fires at their Abqaiq facility, and Khurais facility in Saudi Arabia. It was believed that the attack was done by multiple drones, as machine gun firing could be heard on the recordings of the adhan (Islamic call to prayer) near the facilities as the guards there fired to try to bring down the drones. (Associated Press)
The coordinated strikes on key Saudi Arabian oil facilities have disrupted about half of the kingdom’s oil capacity or 5% of the daily global oil supply. Aramco Chief Executive Amin Nasser said there were no casualties from the attacks.
Yemen takes responsibility. US blames IRAN
Yemen’s Houthi rebels on Saturday took responsibility for the attacks, saying 10 drones targeted state-owned Saudi Aramco oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais, according to the Houthi-run Al-Masirah news agency.
Yet key questions about the attacks remain unanswered. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pinned the strikes directly on Iran, which backs the Houthi rebels. But he said there was “no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”
“Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply”United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
Attack cuts to the heart of Saudi’s oil production
The Abqaiq facility is considered by Aramco as “the largest crude oil stabilization plant in the world”, converting sour crude by removing sulfur impurities into sweet crude oil, before it is transported to further oil refineries, processing upwards of 7 million barrels of oil per day or about 7% of the daily global oil production.
“Abqaiq is perhaps the most critical facility in the world for oil supply,” said Jason Bordoff, who runs the Center On Global Energy Policy at Columbia University and served on the U.S. National Security Council during Barack Obama’s presidency.
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