Saudi Arabia stocks tumble three percent after Aramco drone attacks; kingdom temporarily halts oil production at facilities

  • Saudi Arabia shares dropped after the Saturday drone attacked two major oil facilities that knocked out more than half the kingdom's production

  • In the early hours of 14 September, Houthi drones attacked world's largest oil processing facility in Saudi and a major oilfield operated by Saudi Aramco

  • The Arab, world's largest capital market shed some 200 points in the first few minutes after the opening bell

Riyadh: The Saudi Arabia stock market dropped three percent at the start of trading on Sunday, the first session after drone attacks on two major oil facilities on Saturday.

 Saudi Arabia stocks tumble three percent after Aramco drone attacks; kingdom temporarily halts oil production at facilities

A man walks through a parking lot as the smoke from a fire at the Abqaiq oil processing facility can be seen behind. AP

The Tadawul All Share Index shed 200 points in the first minutes after the opening bell, before regaining some ground. The key energy sector plunged 4.7 percent, while the telecom and banking sectors each slid three percent.

The attacks on the Abqaiq plant, Aramco's largest oil processing facility, and nearby Khurais, which hosts a massive oil field "resulted in production suspension of 5.7 million barrels of crude oil per day", the company said.

In the early hours of Saturday, Houthi drones attacked the world's largest oil processing facility in Saudi and a major oilfield operated by Saudi Aramco, reported The Guardian. Huge palls of smoke rose into the sky from Abqaiq and Khurais plants, two key Aramco facilities in the eastern part of the kingdom.

The drones triggered multiple explosions, forcing State-owned Aramco to temporarily suspend production at the two facilities, interrupting about half of the company's total output, energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said.

Saudi interior ministry spokesman Mansour al-Turki told AFP there were no casualties in the attacks, but the full extent of the damage was not immediately clear as reporters were not allowed near the plants where Saudi authorities swiftly beefed up security. Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said work was underway to restore production and a progress update would be provided in the next two days.

After the explosions, Saudi said, it was ready to respond to drone attacks claimed by Iran-aligned Yemeni rebels on two major oil facilities, which severely disrupted production. The Iran-linked Houthi rebels said they launched "a large-scale operation involving 10 drones" on the facilities, the group's Al-Masirah television reported. However, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo blamed Tehran for the attack.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Sep 15, 2019 14:40:21 IST