Dubai - A drone attack launched by Yemen’s Houthi group on an oil field in eastern Saudi Arabia on Saturday caused a limited fire at a gas plant but had no impact on oil production, state-run oil company Saudi Aramco said. A Houthi military spokesman said earlier on Saturday that the group had targeted the Shaybah oil field with 10 drones, in what he said was the “biggest attack in the depths” of the kingdom, the world’s top oil exporter, by the Iran-aligned group. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih described Shaybah as a “vital facility”. “The target of this attack is the safety of global oil supply, not just the kingdom; it constitutes a threat to the global economy,” he said in comments published by the official Saudi Press Agency. Saudi Aramco said there were no injuries and no interruptions to oil operations. “Saudi Aramco’s response team controlled a limited fire this morning at the Shaybah NGL (natural gas liquids) facility,” the company said in a statement. Shaybah is more than 1,000 km (620 miles) away from Houthi-controlled territory in northwestern Yemen. The field is located near the border with the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia’s main partner in the Sunni Arab coalition which has been battling the Houthis since 2015 in order to restore Yemen’s ousted pro-Saudi government. That government was driven from the capital Sanaa by the Houthis in late 2014. The war has been in military stalemate for years. The Houthis have stepped up cross-border missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia in recent months.
“POWERS OF AGGRESSION”
“We promise the Saudi regime and the powers of aggression bigger and wider operations if the aggression continues,” the Houthi military spokesman said, according to tweets by the group’s Al Masirah TV. The conflict is widely seen in the region as a proxy war between Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shi’ite Muslim Iran. In May, the Houthis claimed responsibility for a drone attack on two oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia that caused a small fire, but did not disrupt oil output or exports of crude and petroleum products. Falih called the attack a “terror and sabotage act” in line with previous targetting of Saudi pipelines and tankers in the Gulf. The Saudi minister was referring to attacks in May and June on oil tankers – blamed by Washington on Tehran, which denied responsibility.