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Saudi oil supplies unaffected by Riyadh refinery attack: Saudi energy ministry

Highlights

Drone attack claimed by Yemen's Houthi rebels

Riyadh refinery has 140,000 b/d capacity

Iran-backed Houthis have stepped up Aramco strikes

London — Saudi Arabia's energy ministry said it had contained a fire following a March 19 drone attack on its Riyadh refinery, with no interruption to oil supplies and no casualties, in the latest strike claimed by Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

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The Houthis had earlier announced a hit on an unspecified Saudi Aramco facility in the Saudi capital, in an attack using six drones. The Riyadh refinery has a crude distillation capacity of about 140,000 b/d.

The attack also comes two days before Aramco is set to announce its full-year 2020 earnings on March 21.

"The kingdom strongly condemns this cowardly attack and affirms that the terrorist and subversive acts, which are repeatedly committed against vital installations and civilian objects, are not only targeting the kingdom, but, more broadly, the security and stability of the world's energy supply, as well as the global economy," the energy ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

Houthi spokesman Yahya Sarea said that the strike was in response to Saudi aggression in the war in Yemen, where the kingdom has led a military coalition campaign.

Aramco facilities have been targeted in several attacks claimed by Houthis in the past several years.

Most recently, a drone attack March 7 targeted an Aramco tank farm at the port of Ras Tanura, which exports the vast majority of the company's crude, and on March 4, a missile strike was intercepted in Jazan, where Aramco is readying a 400,000 b/d refinery for commissioning at an unspecified date.

Neither attack resulted in any damage, or loss of life, Saudi officials have said.

A successful drone strike in September 2019 on the critical Abqaiq crude processing plant and Khurais oil field knocked out half of the company's production capacity and caused oil prices to spike, before Aramco restored supplies within two weeks.