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The Yemeni Houthi rebels launched a ballistic missile and drone attack on Saudi energy targets, affecting oil processing rates at a refinery.
A drone attack on Saturday targeted an oil products distribution center in Jizan, in southeastern Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Press Agency reported. A day later, two drones were sent to a natural gas plant in Yanbu and to facilities owned by the Yanbu Aramco Sinopec Refining Company, or YASREF, the Saudi Ministry of Energy said.
The attack on the YASREF refinery temporarily reduced run rates, but the shortfall will be compensated from available inventories, the SPA reported, citing the ministry.
Later this morning, Saudi Arabia communicated that it would not take responsibility for any supply outages resulting from the attack.
BREAKING: Saudi says it no longer has "responsibility for any shortage in oil supplies to global markets in light of the attacks on its oil facilities." Latest from @jcgnana in the Gulf. https://t.co/RaGNPMRXgk pic.twitter.com/CmjZdqbrj3
— Andy Critchlow (@baldersdale) March 21, 2022
The Houthis appear to have stepped up their attacks on Saudi Arabia. Earlier this month, the rebel group targeted energy industry facilities in Jizan again using a bomb-laden drone, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Saudi oil facilities are a top target for the Houthis, which Saudi Arabia is trying to oust from Yemen after they removed the Saudi-affiliated government of the country in 2014 and have since then assumed power in most of Yemen.
The Yemeni war, which has resulted in the worst humanitarian crisis in modern times, is widely seen as a proxy war between regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran.
With regard to the latest attack, a spokesman for the energy ministry said the attacks did not only affect Saudi Arabia but global energy security and stability of supply.
The most notable attack that the Yemeni rebel group claimed responsibility for was the September 2019 attacks on Saudi Aramco’s oil facilities, including an oil field and a processing plant. That attack cut off 5 percent of the daily global oil supply for weeks, sending oil prices soaring.
Meanwhile, the European Union added the Houthis to a blacklist created in 2014 as part of sanction action on the war in Yemen.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com