Saudi Arabia said Tuesday it halted pumping on a major oil pipeline after it was hit by armed drones, the latest attack on its energy infrastructure after two of its oil tankers were damaged near the Strait of Hormuz over the weekend.
The armed drones
attacked two pump stations on a pipeline that transports oil from the Eastern Province to Yanbu port on the Red Sea, said Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih in a statement. The attack early in the morning caused minor damage and a fire that has since been contained, he said.
Oil prices rose after reports of the attack. Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, was up 1.4% at $71.22 a barrel in afternoon trading in London. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. oil standard, was up 1.1% at $61.74 a barrel.
Saudi Aramco, which operates the pipeline, has temporarily shutdown the pipeline to evaluate its condition. The oil company is working on restoring the pump station before resuming operations, the statement added.
The Saudi statement comes hours after the Iran-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed their drones targeted vital Saudi facilities, according to a pro-Houthi TV report citing a Houthi military source.
The Saudi minister noted that Saudi oil production hasn’t been interrupted by the attack. He said the recent attacks not only targeted the kingdom but also the security of world oil supplies.
Mr. Falih didn’t directly blame the Houthis but noted it was important to face such terrorist entities.