Graphic shows recent attacks linked to Iranian-backed forces.
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Recent attacks linked to Iranian-backed forces

By Mike Tyler

September 17, 2019 - Drone and cruise missile attacks on Saudi Arabia’s largest oil-processing facility required detailed knowledge of the site. Damage to the oil processing unit will take months to repair.

The Abqaiq facility comprises three primary processing units: an oil processing unit -- Abqaiq’s “big oil kitchen” -- a natural gas liquids (NGL) facility and a utility unit.

Crude oil extracted from oil wells is under pressure and contains oil, dissolved gas, salty water and hydrogen sulphide.

The oil processing unit consists of 18 stabiliser columns which remove hydrogen sulphide and light hydrocarbons from the crude, and 11, 30-metre-wide, spheroid pressure tanks.

Images of the Abqaiq facility after the attack show the destruction of five of its stabilisation towers. All the spheroid-shaped tanks are damaged. Washington DC-based consultancy Rapidan Energy Group said they would take months to rebuild because they are large and uniquely designed. Obtaining specific parts would take time.”

A report by Rapidan Energy Group states that damage to Abqaiq’s stabilisation towers and spheroids is “the biggest crisis in the history of the oil market since World War Two.”

PUBLISHED: 17/09/2019; STORY: Graphic News
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