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Armed drones attack oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia

By Nicholas Sakelaris
Armed drones attack oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia
Armed drones attacked two oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, government officials said. File Photo by EPA-EFE

May 14 (UPI) -- For the second day in a row Tuesday, attackers targeted equipment of Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure -- this time oil pumping stations for a major oil pipeline.

Armed drones attacked the stations for an east-west pipeline that carries oil from the Eastern Province to the port of Yanbu on the Saudi west coast. The attack sparked a fire at one of the stations, Riyadh's state-run news agency reported.

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"As a precautionary measure, the company temporarily shut down the pipeline, and contained the fire which caused minor damage to pumping station 8," Saudi Aramco officials said, adding that the strikes did not impact oil and gas supplies.

The Saudi government condemned the drone attack, which came one day after it said two oil tankers were attacked off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. Saudi officials said the tankers were sabotaged. Al Jazeera reported Tuesday that U.S. military officials are investigating that attack.

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Some authorities have implicated Iran in the attacks, which occurred at a time of heightened tensions between Tehran and the United States over new U.S. sanctions.

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"Recent attacks in the Gulf and Saudi Arabia are aimed at the world and not just [Saudi Arabia]," Saudi energy minister Khalid Al-Falih said. "This attack proves, yet again, the importance that all sides stand against such destructive terror attacks."

Iranian officials said last week OPEC is "likely to collapse" because other countries are working against Tehran's interests.

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Crude oil prices rose early Tuesday, with WTI crude up 65 cents and Brent crude up 91 cents.

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