Huge fires at Saudi Aramco oil facilities after alleged drone attacks

Massive fires have hit two Saudi Aramco oil facilities, with dramatic footage emerging online. Riyadh says the blazes were caused by drone attacks, without naming the attacker.

The state-run Saudi Press Agency said drones caused the fire at the refinery in the city of Abqaiq in the kingdom’s oil-rich Eastern Province, which Aramco describes as the world’s largest oil processing plant, as well as the blaze at the Khurais oil field, around 150km from Riyadh.

The agency did not specify the type of drones involved or name the alleged perpetrator. The fires at both sites are under control and a probe has been launched into the alleged attacks, the Saudis say.

Multiple videos, posted on social media earlier on Saturday, showed an Aramco compound engulfed in flames and thick black smoke billowing from the site.

In some footage, several loud bangs resembling the sound of explosions can be heard in the background. There were reports of over a dozen blasts rocking the facility.

Apparent sounds of gunfire can be heard on a video allegedly filmed at a parking lot across the street from the site.

On Twitter, Saudi royal court adviser Turki Alalshikh urged netizens to not fuel speculations, denouncing social media reports as “lies and rumours.” “Praise to God, safe and secure… Abqaiq is well,” the official tweeted.

Saudi Arabia has been accusing Iran of arming and directing the Houthi rebels in civil-war torn Yemen to launch drone and rocket attacks across the kingdom’s border. In May, armed drones caused minor damage to Aramco’s two pumping stations in the Eastern Province. While the Houthis claimed responsibility for the attack, the Saudis blamed Tehran. Iranian officials denied the allegations.