- Reuters/Hamad I Mohammed
- Photos show the extent of damage caused to the Abqaiq and Khurais oil refineries in Saudi Arabia.
- Aramco opened up the oil facilities to journalists as part of a press trip.
- The damage was caused by drone attack son Saturday, which forced a production shut down on around 5% of the world’s daily crude oil output, and causing oil prices to surge by 20%.
- Photos and video from the facilities show burned out oil refining equipment and huge holes blown in the side of oil pipelines.
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Photos and videos detail the extent of damage caused by the drone strikes on two Saudi Arabian oil facilities last Saturday.
The images were taken and shared by a number of Western journalists on a press tour organized by Saudi Aramco to show foreign reporters the devastation caused by the attacks on the Khurais and Abqaiq sites.
A video posted by the Agence-France Presse to Twitter shows the damage caused to Saudi Arabia’s Aramco oil facility in Khurais, east of Riyadh, focusing on a stabilization tower, a key piece of equipment used for refining oil from its raw state into usable products.
The tower appears to be largely burned out, with much of its metal structure twisted and broken.
VIDEO: ???????? Images taken during a press tour show the damage at the site of one of Saudi Arabia's #Aramco oil installations in #Khurais following an attack that Saudi Arabia said was "unquestionably" sponsored by Iran pic.twitter.com/cM2LwrkvCO
— AFP news agency (@AFP) September 20, 2019
According to a tweet by Josie Ensor, a correspondent for the Daily Telegraph, the stabilization tower was hit at 3.31 am and remained burning for four hours.
Images broadcast by Sky News and published by Reuters, which were both present on the trip, show the damage to the stabilization tower in even greater detail, with its upper section appearing to have almost completely collapsed as a result of the attacks.
The picture below illustrates the extent of the damage to the tower:
- Reuters/Hamad I Mohammed
A video published by Ensor shows a crane close to the burned out stabilization tower, although it does not appear to be actively working on repairing the tower at the moment of the video.
Ensor said alongside the video that Saudi Arabia is trying to press home the message that it aims to have the facility fully back online by the end of September.
The message is: we’re working round the clock to resume full output by end of September. Heading to Abqaiq (much worse hit) now via Aramco-arranged plane 2/ pic.twitter.com/pW1mCqbJ0H
— Josie Ensor (@Josiensor) September 20, 2019
Sky also shared footage and images from the Abqaiq oil refinery which was worst hit by the strikes. The image below shows holes blown into the sides of several stabilization towers on the site.
- Sky News
The holes are on the north side of the stabilization towers, according to the report by Sky News. The image below, from Reuters, shows the damage in closer detail:
- Reuters/Hamid I Mohammed
The positioning of the holes is one of the reasons that Saudi Arabia and the US say the drone attack was made from the north of the country and not the south.
This is one of the reasons why Saudi authorities say Iran may be responsible for the attack, although investigations are still underway.
- Sky News
“The attack was launched from the north and unquestionably sponsored by Iran,” Saudi Arabia’s Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Turki al-Malki said at a press conference Wednesday.
“The Iranian regime and the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps], they are trying to hide any evidence” of involvement, he said.
Saudi Arabia has so far stopped short of directly blaming Iran for the attacks, saying only that it “sponsored” them.