Terrorist attacks on vital oil infrastructures in Saudi Arabia have now crippled one of the world's largest crude producing nations. The coordinated strikes have reportedly managed to cut oil production in the kingdom by more than half, reducing global crude supply by around 5 percent.
Following the various attacks on key oil-producing facilities in Saudi Arabia, the Islamic militant group under the Houthi movement claimed responsibility for the strikes. On Saturday, Yemen's Houthi rebels announced that they sent out at least 10 drones to target state-owned Saudi Aramco oil facilities throughout Khurais and Abqaiq.
The announcement was made through the Houthi-ran Al-Masirah news agency.
On Sunday, Saudi Arabia's Energy Ministry revealed that the attacks had affected more than 5.7 million barrels a day of crude and gas production. Based on the latest OPEC figures, which pegs the kingdom's total output at 9.8 million barrels a day, the affected oil production will account for more than 50 percent of the kingdom's production capacity.
Crude prices reacted accordingly, with US oil futures spiking by more than 10 percent to $61 per barrel. Brent crude increased by 11 percent to $68 per barrel.
Saudi's interior ministry revealed that two facilities were ravaged by fires following the attacks. Emergency personnel was immediately dispatched to the facilities and the fires have since been put out. Fortunately, no fatalities were reported as a result of the attacks.
The country's Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman also stated that Saudi Aramco was now working hard to recover any salvageable components and oil from the attacked sites. The official and member of the royal family condemned the attacks and stated that it was not only an attack on the kingdom itself but also to the global economy as a whole.
Despite the Islamic militant group's claims, the US remains unconvinced. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo mentioned over the weekend that he thinks that Iran may have been directly involved given their backing of the Houthi rebels. The US official also explained that they currently have no evidence to back up the claims that the attack originated from Yemen.
Pompeo took to Twitter following the attacks, directly blaming Iran for the "unprecedented attacks" on the global energy supply.
According to reports citing sources close to the matter, preliminary evidence and information point to the attacks likely originating from Iraq. The same sources claim that Iran does have a lot of influence in southern Iraq, which is relatively very close to the attacked sites in Saudi Arabia.
Iran immediately responded to the US' accusations, calling the country's claims as nothing more than "blind accusations" that were "incomprehensible and meaningless." Iran's foreign ministry also mentioned that the statements made by Pompeo were "inappropriate" diplomatically.