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Drone attack on Saudi oil field sparks fire

23 August 2019

A drone attack launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels caused a fire at a Saudi oil field on August 17. No casualties or disruption to production were reported at the Shaybah oil field which produces around one million barrels of crude oil a day.

Shaybah oil field - Image: Saudi Aramco
Shaybah oil field - Image: Saudi Aramco

The state-owned energy company, Saudi Aramco, said in a statement that a “limited fire” was dealt with at the oil field in the east of the kingdom, around 10km south of the border with the United Arab Emirates. 

The attack highlights the Houthi rebel’s ability to attack well within the borders of Saudi Arabia, as the Shaybah oil field is located almost 1,200 kilometres (750 miles) away from Houthi-controlled territory. 

According to Al Jazeera, a Houthi spokesman said the rebel group targeted the Shaybah oil field with 10 drones in what they claimed to be the "biggest attack in the depths" of the kingdom to date. The incident is the latest in a number of attacks on Saudi facilities by Houthi rebels which has been fighting a Saudi-led military coalition in neighbouring Yemen for four years. 

In May, Saudi Arabia said explosive-laden drones had struck oil pumping stations in the Riyadh region in what it called an act of terrorism two days after Saudi oil tankers were sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

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