Code: 810021 A

Yemen’s Houthi group said it attacked two plants at the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry on Saturday, knocking out more than half the Kingdom’s output, in a move expected to send oil prices soaring and increase tensions in the Middle East.

The attacks will cut the kingdom’s output by 5.7 million barrels per day (bpd), according to a statement from state-run oil company Saudi Aramco, or more than 5% of global oil supply.

The pre-dawn strikes follow earlier cross-border attacks on Saudi oil installations and on oil tankers in Persia Gulf waters, but these were the most brazen yet, temporarily crippling much of the nation’s production capacity.

Saudi Arabia is the world’s biggest exporter, shipping more than 7 million barrels of oil to global destinations every day, and for years has served as the supplier of last resort to markets.

While the Houthis claimed responsibility for the attack, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo put the blame squarely on Iran, writing on Twitter that there was “no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”

 “Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply,” Pompeo said.

Saudi de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told U.S. President Donald Trump by telephone that Riyadh had the will and capability “to confront and deal with this terrorist aggression,” according to Saudi state news agency SPA.

Aramco Chief Executive Amin Nasser said there were no casualties from the attacks.

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said Aramco would have more information within 48 hours, and it will draw down oil in storage to compensate for the loss. Aramco is in the process of planning what is expected to be the world’s largest initial public offering.

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Oil prices Aramco Saudi oil facilities Yemen’s Houthi
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