RIYADH: Earlier in the day, a blast followed by fire was reported at the Saudi Aramco Abqaiq facility in the eastern part of the kingdom.
The fire at two Saudi Aramco oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais was caused by drone attacks, according to a spokesman for Saudi Arabia ‘s interior ministry. The official added that the blaze was brought under control by the company’s security forces.
“The industrial security teams of Aramco have started dealing with fires at two of its facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais as a result of… drones”, local media quoted the spokesman as saying. “The two fires have been controlled.”
The ministry official did not identify those responsible for the attack in his comment.
Earlier in the day, the Saudi-owned satellite channel Al-Arabiya reported the explosion and fire at the Saudi Aramco Abqaiq facility in Buqyaq, near Dammam, in the kingdom’s Eastern Province. According to videos posted by social media users, gunfire was heard in the background.
Saudi Aramco is the state-owned oil enterprise which operates and controls the majority of the kingdom’s refinery production and oilfields.
Last month, another drone attack targeted Saudi Arabia’s major oil field, Shaybah, causing no interruptions to its activities. Yemen’s Houthis were reportedly responsible for the incident.
Yemen, a small nation in the south of the Arabian peninsula, has been engulfed in an armed conflict between the government forces, led by President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi, and the rebel Houthi movement for several years now. A Saudi-led coalition has been carrying out airstrikes against the Houthis at Hadi’s request since March 2015. The conflict has resulted in a massive humanitarian crisis in the war-torn country.
Over recent months, the Houthi rebels have conducted several drone attacks on Saudi airports and oil facilities.