Escalating attacks raise risk on Saudi oil supply
May 15, 2019 - Tensions over threats to oil flows from the Middle East are escalating after an attack by armed drones on Saudi Arabia’s main oil transport pipeline to the Red Sea.
Tuesday’s attacks on two pumping stations more than 300km west of Riyadh follow the alleged “sabotage” on Sunday of four oil tankers, two of them Saudi, off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.
Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who are at war with Saudi Arabia, claim they carried out the drone strikes.
Iran has issued threats to close or disrupt traffic through the Strait of Hormuz, a critical chokepoint through which 30 percent of the world’s seaborne oil transits, prompting the United States to deploy warships and bomber aircraft to the region, according to analysis by S&P Global.
Washington ordered the departure of non-emergency government employees from Iraq on Wednesday, after repeated U.S. expressions of concern about threats from Iranian-backed forces, Reuters reported.