Saudi Arabia cuts oil output after Houthi drone attack

Sept. 14 (UPI) — Saudi Arabia has cut its oil output in half after Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for a drone attack on two oil facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia.

The Yemen military spokesman told the Houthi-run Al-Masirah news agency it was a “large-scale” attack with 10 drones that hit its targeted Saudi Aramco oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais successfully.

The spokesman added it was a legitimate response to U.S-Saudi “‘aggression and siege” since 2015.

“We promise the Saudi regime to expand our operations in future and to be more painful as long as its aggression and siege continue,” the spokesman said.

Saudi Arabia shut down half its oil output after the drone strikes, the Wall Street Journal reported from sources familiar with the matter. The shutdown will cause a loss of about five million barrels a day, roughly 5 percent of the world’s daily production of crude oil.

The kingdom usually produces 9.8 million barrels a day.

The Saudi interior ministry said on Twitter the drone attacks caused fires at the two facilities.

The fires were under control and authorities are investigating, the ministry tweeted.

Saudi Arabia has led a military campaign to quash the Houthi rebels in Yemen since March 2015.

James Rogers, a drone and security expert and visiting research fellow at Yale University, said that the United Nations has been investigating the drones that have a range of 900 miles, which means that Houthi forces can target sites in Saudi Arabia from Yemen.

“It’s quite an impressive, yet worrying technological feat,” Rogers said. “Long-range precision strikes are not easy to achieve and to cause the substantial fires in Abqaiq and Khurais highlights that this drone has a large explosive yield.”