KHURAIS, Saudi Arabia – Saudi Arabia on Friday took media to inspect oil facilities hit by attacks that Washington and Riyadh blame on Iran, showing melted pipes and burnt equipment, as Tehran vowed wide retaliation if heightened tensions boil over into hostilities.
The kingdom sees the Sept. 14 strikes on its Khurais and Abqaiq facilities — the worst attack on Gulf oil infrastructure since Iraq’s Saddam Hussein torched Kuwaiti oilfields in 1991 — as a test of global will to preserve international order.
Iran denies involvement in the attack, which initially halved oil output from Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest petroleum exporter. Responsibility was claimed by Yemen’s Houthi movement, an Iran-aligned group fighting a Saudi-led alliance in Yemen’s four-year-old conflict.
At Khurais, which the Saudi defense ministry says was hit by four missiles, Reuters reporters were shown repair work under way, with cranes erected around two burnt-out stabilization columns, which form part of oil-gas separation units, and melted pipes.
“We are confident we are going back to the full production we were at before the attack (on Khurais) by the end of September,” Fahad Abdulkarim, Aramco’s general manager for the southern area oil operation, told reporters.