It seems the violence in Yemen may be spilling over into Saudi Arabia. On Wednesday, the KSA’s state-run media agency reported an attempted attack on an oil product distribution center in a province bordering the Kingdom’s war-torn southern neighbor.
The press agency cited an unidentified spokesperson from the Interior Ministry who said security forces spotted a remote-controlled boat full of explosives leave a Yemeni island and head towards Saudi’s coast.
The countries defense forces will protect Saudi citizens and oil infrastructure from Shi’ite Houthi rebels’ attacks on shipping routes in the Red Sea, the ministry added. No group has claimed responsibility for the failed attack so far.
Yemen’s oil facilities have also been under attack in recent weeks from local residents. Twelve people died and 29 others were injured from an oil pipeline fire in the Bajel district of Yemen in early April, according to a security official.
After being hit with a “sabotage act,” the pipeline began leaking oil. Citizens from the area began gathering the crude oil, with one Yemeni attaching a generator near the leak to speed up the rate of the leakage. The electric current from the device caused a spark, setting the oil on fire. Related: Top 5 Risks To Oil Prices
The Red Sea port, near the Bab al-Mandab strait, is currently controlled by the Houthis, and whoever maintains control of it has a strategic advantage. This port is a pathway connection to the Middle East (where the world’s largest proven oil reserves are) and Sub-Saharan Africa (a region expected to see a four-fold increase in energy demand by 2040), making it a coveted geopolitical prize for regional powers, but a livelihood-destroying burden for Yemen’s residents.
Roughly one year before the civil war began, Yemen’s oil production topped 127,000 barrels per day, but hostilities have forced the exit of virtually all international producers due to security concerns. Existing fields are close to maturity, and in the absence of new oil discoveries, the country’s crude reserves would be exhausted in less than a decade.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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