Attacks on Saudi oil tankers affect supplies

Attacks on Saudi oil tankers affect supplies
Highlights

Drone strikes hit two pumping stations on the kingdom's east-west pipeline.

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia, the world's top crude exporter, said on Wednesday that attacks on two of its tankers and a major pipeline targeted the security of global oil supplies.

Drone attacks claimed by Iran-aligned Yemeni rebels shut down one of the kingdom's main oil pipelines on Tuesday, further ratcheting up Gulf tensions after the mysterious sabotage of four ships, two of them Saudi tankers, on Sunday.

"The cabinet affirms that these acts of terrorism and sabotage... Do not only target the kingdom but also the security of world oil supplies and the global economy," it said after a meeting chaired by King Salman in the Red Sea city of Jeddah on Tuesday evening.

Tuesday's drone strikes hit two pumping stations on the kingdom's east-west pipeline, which can carry five million barrels of crude per day and provides a strategic alternative route for Saudi exports if the shipping lane from the Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz is closed.

Yemen's Huthi rebels claimed responsibility for the strikes and said they were a response to "crimes" committed by Saudi Arabia and its allies during more than four years of war in support of the government.

The Saudi tankers Al-Marzoqah and Amjad suffered "significant damage" in as yet unexplained sabotage attacks in the Sea of Oman off the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said, but there were no casualties or oil spill.

An Emirati official said three Western countries —the US, France and Norway— would be part of an investigation into the ship attacks along with the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The ships—which also included a he Norwegian tanker and an Emirati vessel—were docked in the sea off the coast of the emirate of Fujairah.

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