KSA suspends oil shipments through Bab Al Mandab after Houthi terror attack

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Ali Falih said Iran-backed Houthi terrorists have made maritime shipping along Bab AL-Mandab risky. (SPA file photo)
Updated 26 July 2018

KSA suspends oil shipments through Bab Al Mandab after Houthi terror attack

  • Houthi terrorists earlier attacked two Saudi giant oil tankers, causing "slight damage" to one oi the vessels
  • The Arab Coalition helping Yemen's legitimate government said the Houthis almost caused an environmental disaster.

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has suspended oil shipments through Bab Al-Mandab Strait after Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen attacked two oil tankers, Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said on Wednesday.
“All oil shipments passing through Bab Al-Mandab Strait have been suspended temporarily until navigation through the area is secure,” Al-Falih said in a statement released through the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) and state TV Al-Ekhbariyah.
Al-Falih and Saudi Aramco confirmed in statements that two giant oil tankers belonging to the Saudi National Shipping Company, each carrying 2 million barrels of crude oil, were attacked by Houthi terrorists in the Red Sea Wednesday morning after crossing Bab al-Mandab. 
“One of the ships sustained minimal damage. No injuries nor oil spill have been reported,” Aramco said.
The oil giant said the decision to suspend shipments was “in the interest of the safety of ships and their crews and to avoid the risk of oil spill.”
Earlier, the pro-Houthi Al-Masirah television said that the rebels had targeted a Saudi warship named Al-Dammam, without providing further details.
But the Arab Coalition supporting the legitimate government of Yemen President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi said crude oil tankers were attacked.
Col. Turki Al-Maliki, spokesman of the coalition, said the Houthis “had almost caused an environmental disaster.” 

The coalition has repeatedly raised alarm that Houthi rebels threaten vessels in the Red Sea — a key shipping route for world trade — through their control of the strategic Hodeida port.
The Bab Al-Mandab Strait, one of the world’s busiest shipping routes, links the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, and the Indian Ocean.
“This terrorist attack is a dangerous threat to the freedom of navigation and international trade in the Red Sea,” said  Colonel Al-Malik.
“Port of Hodeida is still the starting point of terrorist attacks,” he said.
Pro-government forces backed up by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia have paused their offensive on Hodeida port in a bid they say to give UN-led peace efforts a chance.
The United Arab Emirates, whose forces in the coalition have been spearheading the Hodeida assault, has warned that troops could “liberate” the port city if those efforts fail.
Saudi Arabia intervened in Yemen in 2015 at the head of a military coalition backing the country’s government after Houthi rebels ousted it from the capital Sanaa the previous year.
Meanwhile, the UN special envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths arrived Wednesday in the capital, Sanaa to meet with rebel leaders amid efforts to restart peace talks after a two-year hiatus.
Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed Obaid bin Daghr said Sunday the rebels should release all detainees and captives held in their prisons ahead of peace talks. He said the Houthis should also hand over their arms and withdraw from all rebel-held areas including Sanaa, which they seized in September 2014.
Last month, Griffiths announced plans to bring Yemen’s warring parties to the negotiating table. He held several meetings with both sides since.
Yemen’s three-year stalemated war has damaged Yemen’s infrastructure, crippled the health system and pushed it to the brink of famine.
The impoverished country is also now in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with more than 22.2 million people in need of assistance. Malnutrition, cholera and other diseases have killed or sickened thousands of civilians over the years.

Attacks on oil facilities in Kingdom threaten world economy: Saudi energy minister

Updated 15 September 2019

Attacks on oil facilities in Kingdom threaten world economy: Saudi energy minister

  • Saudi Aramco says no staff have been injured in attacks
  • The oil giant is working on restoring the lost quantities

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said drones that attacked Saudi Aramco installations had caused an interruption of an estimated 5.7 million barrels in crude supplies and threaten the world economy.

The Arab Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said in a statement that investigations are ongoing to identify the perpetrators.

And Al-Maliki said Arab coalition forces would continue to implement necessary measures to deal with the terrorist threats.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said as a result of the terrorist acts, oil production in Abqaiq and Khurais was knocked out temporarily and that estimates show that 50 percent of the company’s production had been interrupted.

Part of the decrease will be compensated to clients through reserves, Prince Abdulaziz said in a statement carried on the Saudi Press Agency.

The newly appointed minister confirmed there were no injuries to staff at the locations targeted, adding that the company is still assessing the resulting damage.

The attacks not only target the Kingdom’s vital installations, but also target the international oil supply and threaten its security, he said, and are a threat to the world economy. 

The blasts took place at 3:31am and 3:42am at the two locations, both in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, causing fires that were brought under control by emergency services.

The drone attacks, at the world’s largest oil processing plant at Abqaiq and at an oilfield in Khurais, highlight the importance of the international community to protect energy supply against “all terrorist sides that carry out, support and finance such cowardly disruptive acts,” the statement said.

He said that these blasts also knocked out the production of 2bn cubic feet of associated gas daily, used to produce 700,000 barrels of natural gas liquids, which will lead to an approximate 50 percent decrease of Ethane and natural gas liquids supply.

The statement said the company is currently working on restoring the lost quantities, and will present updated information within the next 48 hours.

World leaders condemned the attacks on Saudi Arabia on Saturday and those behind the terrorist acts. 

Donald Trump called Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to reassert his country's “readiness to cooperate with the Kingdom, by all means conducive to maintain its security and stability.”

The Crown Prince "underscored the Kingdom’s willingness and strength to thwart such a terrorist aggression and deal with its consequences,” SPA reported on Saturday.

The UAE said it “condemns this act of terrorism and sabotage and considers it as a new evidence of the terrorist groups’ attempts to undermine the security and stability of the region as a whole.”

“The Houthis must stop undermining Saudi Arabia’s security by threatening civilian areas and commercial infrastructure,” said the British government.

“The US strongly condemns today’s drone attacks. These attacks against critical infrastructure endanger civilians, are unacceptable, and sooner or later will result in innocent lives being lost,” said the US envoy in Riyadh John Abizaid.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was emphatic about the need to condemn Iranian aggression, specifically on Saudi Arabia, and the need to ensure the security of world energy supplies.

“Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy. Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen,” he tweeted, “We call on all nations to publicly and unequivocally condemn Iran’s attacks. The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression."

The Council of Ministers of Lebanon have also condemned the targeting of Saudi’s Aramco facilities.

The Houthis, who are backed by Iran, said they had carried out the attacks and that 10 drones had been used.