Who launched the drone attack on oil plants in Saudi Arabia?.

A SERIES of drone attacks were made on the world's largest oil plant in Saudi Arabia.

But who launched the attacks that experts claim are the "equivalent of 9/11" to the global oil industry, and what happened?

 Saudi Arabia oil attack: Fire erupted at an Aramco factory in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia following drone strikes

Saudi Arabia oil attack: Fire erupted at an Aramco factory in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia following drone strikesCredit: Reuters

 Thick black smoke could be seen for miles around after the drone attacks on Aramco's oil plants in Saudi Arabia

Thick black smoke could be seen for miles around after the drone attacks on Aramco's oil plants in Saudi ArabiaCredit: AFP or licensors

What happened?

Immense fires were seen engulfing two major Saudi Arabian oil plants, one in Abqaiq, Bugayg, and its second largest oilfield in Khurais, at around 4am on the morning of Saturday, September 14.

Loud explosions were heard at 3.31am setting off a series of fires which resulted in the loss of around 5m barrels a day.

The fires began after the sites were "targeted by drones," the Interior Ministry said in a statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

The attacks on the two plants at the heart of the kingdom's oil industry knocked out more than half of Saudi crude output.

Who was behind the attacks?

Houthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen have since claimed responsibility.

The militants were said to be backed by Iran and fired a flurry of rockets with giant plumes of thick black smoke seen coming from the oil facility.

A military spokesperson for the Yemeni rebels claimed responsibility for the strike on Saudi Arabia's state-owned oil giant, Aramco.

But the US shared what it claims is new evidence, including satellite photos, "proving" Iran is to blame for the attacks.

 The fires began after the sites were 'targeted by drones' the Interior Ministry said

The fires began after the sites were 'targeted by drones' the Interior Ministry saidCredit: AP:Associated Press

 The Saudi Arabia drone attacks could see a rise in the price of oil

The Saudi Arabia drone attacks could see a rise in the price of oilCredit: EPA

Background: Why are Saudi Arabia and Iran rivals?

The Abqaiq oil processing facility uses vital shipping lanes on the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea.

It was targeted by Al-Qaida suicide bombers in February 2006, who failed to blow it up.

War erupted in 2015 with the Iran-aligned Houthi rebel movement battling against the Yemeni government and a Saudi-led coalition.

The violence has pushed Yemen to the brink of famine and killed more than 90,000 people since 2015, according to the US-based Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project.

Now the coalition launches air strikes almost every day, while the Houthis often fire missiles into Saudi Arabia.

Tensions have also been rising in the region because of the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Saudi Arabia and the US both blamed Iran for attacks in the Gulf on two oil tankers in June and July.

How has Iran responded?

Saudi officials said the photos show impacts consistent with the attack coming from the direction of Iran or Iraq, rather than from Yemen to the south.

Trump said he is waiting on Riyadh to determine who launched the strikes before proceeding on a course of action.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there was no evidence the attacks came from Yemen and accused Iran of "an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply."

But Iran has dismissed accusations by the US that it was behind the strikes.

An Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander warned Tehran is "ready for a fully-fledged war", saying US bases are "within range of our missiles".

How will this affect petrol prices?

Oil prices rose as much as 20 per cent to above $71.00 (£57) a barrel — the biggest percentage spike in almost three decades.

The assault follows earlier cross-border attacks on Saudi oil installations and on oil tankers in Gulf waters.

Prices could even spike to as high as $100(£80) per barrel if Saudi Arabia fails to quickly resume oil supply lost after the attacks, it is claimed.

We have never seen a supply disruption and price response like this in the oil market

Saul Kavonic, an energy analyst at Credit Suisse Group

Andrew Lipow, of consultants Lipow Oil Associates, predicted a 5p rise per litre of petrol and added: “This is a big deal.”

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State-run oil giant Saudi Aramco said the strikes would spark a drop in output of 5.7million barrels per day or more than five per cent of global crude supply.

On September 16, it was reported that Iran seized a UAE oil ship in the Strait of Hormuz hours after the US accused Tehran of a shocking oil plant attack in Saudia Arabia.



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