LAHORE: (Web Desk) Drone attacks claimed by Iran-aligned Yemen rebels shut down one of Saudi Arabia’s major oil pipelines on Tuesday, further ratcheting up Gulf tensions after the mysterious sabotage of several tankers.
Days after the United States deployed bombers and an assault ship to bolster an aircraft carrier in the region, the world’s largest crude exporter said two pumping stations had been targeted early Tuesday.
They lie on the East West Pipeline, able to pump five million barrels of oil a day from the oil-rich eastern province to a Red Sea export terminal.
The announcement came hours after Yemen’s Houthi rebels said they had targeted vital installations in Saudi Arabia, which leads a military coalition against them.
Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said Saudi Aramco had “temporarily shut down” the pipeline to “evaluate its condition” but added that oil production and exports had not been interrupted.
“The company [Saudi Aramco] is working on restoring the pumping station before resuming operations,” he said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.
The stations reportedly targeted lie west of Riyadh, at Dawadmi and Afeef.
Minister Falih said Tuesday’s incident was an “act of terrorism ... that not only targets the kingdom but also the security of oil supplies to the world and the global economy”.
Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam wrote on Twitter that the attacks were “a response to the aggressors continuing to commit genocide” against the Yemeni people.