Drone Strikes Shut Down Half of Saudi Arabia Oil Production

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The Shutdown amounts to a loss of some five million barrels a day, roughly 5% of the world’s daily production of crude.

Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen claimed responsibility for a Coordinated Drone Strike Shutting Down About Half of Saudi Arabia's Oil Output.

A coordinated drone strike hit at the heart of Saudi oil production on Saturday, sparking an enormous blaze and forcing the kingdom to shut down about half of its crude output, according to people familiar with matter.

The Saudi production shutdown amounts to a loss of about five million barrels a day, the people said, roughly 5% of the world’s daily production of crude oil. The kingdom produces 9.8 million barrels a day.

This attack appeared to be the most effective, starting large fires at Hijra Khurais, one of Saudi Arabia’s largest oil fields, and at Abqaiq, the world’s biggest crude stabilization facility. Khurais produces 1.5 million barrels a day while Abqaiq helps produce up to 7 million barrels a day.

A Houthi spokesman said the attack involved 10 drones. Published images of the fire at the Abqaiq facility showed what appeared to be a huge blaze along with plumes of smoke.

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

The Houthis took control of Yemen’s capital, San’a, in 2014 during a civil war. Since then, a Saudi-led coalition has fought a war to unseat the Houthis and reinstate a government supported by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other regional powers.

Oil Prices

Oil futures will jump as soon as they open trading tomorrow evening.

Roots of the Conflict - Yemen Civil War

The war between Yemen and Saudi Arabia has its roots in a Yemeni Civil War that started in 2015 and is still ongoing.

The conflict is between two factions: the Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi led Yemeni government and the Houthi armed movement, along with their supporters and allies. Both claim to constitute the official government of Yemen.

The Houthi overthrew the Hadi government in 2015 and Hadi fled the country.

The Hadi government is also in conflict with UAE forces as a result of UAE military measures such as the United Arab Emirates takeover of Socotra and UAE-backed STC takeover of Aden.

Yemini Civil War Map

Famine, US Involvement

Saudi Arabia wants to restore the prior government and the US meddles by giving Saudi Arabia bombs, other weapons and logistical support.

According to the UN and other sources, from March 2015 to December 2017, between 8,670–13,600 people were killed in Yemen, including more than 5,200 civilians, as well as estimates of more than 50,000 dead as a result of an ongoing famine due to the war.

The conflict has been widely seen as an extension of the Iran–Saudi Arabia proxy conflict and as a means to combat Iranian influence in the region. In 2018, the United Nations warned that 13 million Yemeni civilians face starvation in what it says could become "the worst famine in the world in 100 years."

The international community has sharply condemned the Saudi Arabian-led bombing campaign, which has included widespread bombing of civilian areas. The bombing campaign has killed or injured an estimated 17,729 civilians as of March 2019 according to the Yemen Data Project. Despite this, the crisis has only recently begun to gain as much international media attention as the Syrian Civil War.

The US has been providing bombs to aid the Saudi forces and airstrikes in Yemen. In March 2019, this has led the United States Senate to pass a resolution to end US support of Saudi Arabia. It has since been vetoed by President of the United States Donald Trump, and in May, the Senate failed to override the veto.

Yemini Civil War Images

Accusations

The US blames Iran and Iran denies they are a part.

Regardless, this is not our battle.

It's not even clear which side the US should be on if the US was somehow forced to take sides.

All the US has accomplished is to prolong the war. 13 million Yemeni civilians face starvation.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (48)
No. 1-14
Wagner99999
Wagner99999

Can we finally talk about electric cars and how they would help with energy independence (i.e. take away money from bullies)?

Jojo
Jojo

It's sad what is going on in Yemen. The USA mainstream media features very little on this conflict. Whatever foolishness Trump said today or who is leading in the Dem presidential choice race is always far more important. Sheese.

The BBC world news does offer some coverage now and then. This was a good book about the country and the start of this war that I read recently:

The Fox Hunt A Refugee's Memoir of Coming to America by Mohammed Al Samawi

Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

Jojo
Jojo

And why wasn't the USA offering protection of this important resource?

Ted R
Ted R

Great post.

abend237-04
abend237-04

Ten drones with pedestrian technology just shook the world and media outlets are largely oblivious; They won't be come Monday morning. We're decades away from a viable alternative to oil if we started today, and we won't. It's almost laughable that anyone thinks wind and solar are more than a massively subsidized plaything, and hydrogen is one of the most tightly bound molecules in nature. Breaking it free and into a combustible form is a net energy consuming exercise. Nuclear is the only viable way forward, but the new Earth worship religion proscribes it's use. Interesting times, and they just became dramatically more interesting.

Stand by for a frenzy of finger pointing and blame casting as a solution for this new crisis.

Boot6761
Boot6761

No conspiracy theories? Most of Big Oil needs Oil to be at $80/barrel....perhaps a conspiracy theory to get the price of oil to get over $100 per barrel...just saying

caradoc-again
caradoc-again

What chance this will tip over into a market sell-off as consumers might get hit by higher prices at the pump or just the realisation there are simple choke points anyone could hit?

EV's - price needs to fall, range increase. Not viable to make a big dent for quite a few years. Consumer demands don't yet align with the capability of an exceptably priced EV.

thimk
thimk

yikes ! WSJ says this rag tag bunch of rebels spliced together military grade drones from everyday sourced parts . Hmmm , alot of bang for your buck. Are they spawning a new type of warfare? maybe swarming ? . Will amazon drone delivery systems be kabashed? . Did we squeeze Iran too much ? the retaliation will be enormous. sabers are being drawn, alliances are being formed .just a few fragmented thoughts.

2banana
2banana

Saudi Arabia will respond.

They have a fairly robust airforce with modern weapons systems - especially when compared to the Iranians.

So a full Saudi - Iran Air War is a good possibility.

The question to really ask is - Are we OK with these countries bombing each other and their respective oil infrastructures or should we prevent that?

"Regardless, this is not our battle."

truthseeker
truthseeker

If I had to bet my life on it I would say that Russia is the one behind this. I forget how long it’s been since we had 90-100 dollars for 5 years which we-the American oil industry- became the largest oil producer in the world, becoming even an exporter of crude. At that time V. Putin was extremely popular because of what high oil and natural gas prices provided the best growth Russia ever had until recently he has lost much of his power as Russia has lost its prosperity.

Webej
Webej

There is a lot more background to the Yemeni war (North and South Yemen were separate countries, and putting them together was an obvious mistake). There are tribal, historical, ideological, and religious roots to rivalries between regions and various groups. It was a disaster for Saudi and the gulf States to wrangle these countries into their sphere of influence.

US and UK involvement should be highly embarassing, and there is far more reason for us to hear about the terrible war in Yemen everyday than all the propaganda about Assad. Pompeo will not show any proof of his allegations. Attacking Iran would be as crazy as bombing Serbia or England because weapons they made were found in Syria, and they have been therefore been in cahoots with the US and its partner Al-Qaeda.

arcticwolf
arcticwolf

The alternative media has been reporting covert drone strikes into Yemen since early 2010. These were not military, but CIA operations and most of the casualties have been civilians. US supply of armament and surveillance information to Saudi Arabia is only part of the story.

Mish
Mish

Editor

As long as wagner keeps making sensible replies, even if they disagree with me, he is welcome.