Saudi Arabia not responsible for oil shortages in light of Houthi attacks: Official

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Saudi Arabia said on Monday it would not bear responsibility for any global oil supply shortages after attacks on its oil facilities by the Iran-aligned Houthis.

The Houthi movement fired missiles and drones at several facilities of Saudi state oil firm Aramco over the weekend, causing a temporary drop in output at a refinery and a fire at a petroleum products distribution terminal.

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A Saudi foreign ministry official said in remarks on state news agency SPA that such attacks result in serious consequences for upstream and downstream sectors affecting “the Kingdom’s production capacity and its ability to fulfil its obligations.”

Aramco CEO Amin Nasser, asked in an earnings webcast about the statement, said: “These types of attacks and that type of escalation during a time when the market is very tight is a real concern for the world ... If more escalations happen over time, it might have some impact on supply.”

The unidentified official urged the global community to “realize the gravity of Iran’s continued behavior in equipping” the Houthis, who are fighting the Arab coalition that intervened in Yemen seven years ago. Iran denies arming the group.

The source highlighted the danger of Iran’s continuing to provide Houthis with ballistic missile and drone technology, which the Yemen-based group uses to target oil and gas production sites in the Kingdom.

Recent attacks will affect the Kingdom’s production capacity and its ability to meet its supply obligations, threatening global energy supply, according to SPA.

The source highlighted the importance of standing against the Houthis and deterring them from further attacks.

Global energy prices have skyrocketed in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and sanctions on Russian oil and gas, prompting several Western leaders to urge Gulf Arab states to increase production.

Sunday saw several Houthi attacks on energy facilities in Saudi Arabia.

One targeted an Aramco petroleum distribution plant in Jeddah, causing a fire but no injuries or casualties, state television reported.

Earlier on Sunday, the Arab Coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen reported the destruction of an explosive-laden boat in Hodeidah, and the thwarting of an imminent attack targeting the freedom of navigation in the Red Sea.

State television al-Ekhbariya cited the coalition as saying it had intercepted and destroyed three drones that targeted economic facilities.

The coalition also foiled an attack on an Aramco Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility in the Saudi city of Yanbu, state television reported.

The coalition fighting in Yemen since 2015 said the latest Houthi escalation by targeting economic and civil facilities was a response to a Gulf call for talks.

In a statement, the coalition added the escalation included ballistic missiles, drones and cruise missiles.

-- With Reuters

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