Terrorist Attack on Shaybah Oil Field, Saudi Arabia

Shaybah Oil Field

The Saudi ministry of energy, industry and mineral resources (MEIM) said on Saturday that a unit of a natural gas plant in the Shaybah oil field in southeast Saudi Arabia suffered a terrorist attack.

MEIM explained that the attack “was carried out by booby-trapped drones,” and resulted in a fire that was controlled, after causing limited damage with no human injuries, according to the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA)’sofficial account on Twitter.

MEIM’s minister, Khalid Al-Falih, confirmed that “the attack on Shaybah oil field caused limited damage, and the Kingdom’s production and exports of oil was not affected by the terrorist act”.

Al-Falih stressed that “the Kingdom condemns in the strongest terms this cowardly attack,” confirming that “this act of terrorism and sabotage, is only an extension of those acts that have recently targeted global oil supply chains, including oil pipelines in the Kingdom, and oil tankers in the Arabian Gulf and others”.

Al-Falih said that “this targeting of vital installations not only targets the Kingdom, but also targets the security of energy supplies to the world, and therefore represents a threat to the global economy”.

This cowardly attack highlights once again the importance of the international community’s response to all terrorist actors carrying out such acts of sabotage, including the Iranian-backed Houthi militias in Yemen,” Al-Falih continued.

Shaybah Oil Field 

Expansions taken place in Shaybah Oil Field
Expansions taken place in Shaybah Oil Field

It’s noteworthy that Shaybah Oil Field is a super-giant oil field in Saudi Arabia and is located in the northern edge of the Rub’ Al-Khali (Empty Quarter desert). It is located about 10 km south of the border to Abu DhabiUnited Arab Emirates, which is a straight line drawn in the desert. It is 40 km south of the eastern part of Liwa Oasis of Abu Dhabi.

Shaybah was developed for the purposes of exploiting the Shaybah oil field. It was established by Saudi Aramco during the 1990s, and, prior to this, only the rough tracks used by early exploration teams existed in this isolated desert region.

Shaybah has housing facilities for 1,000 men, administrative offices, an air-strip, a fire station, recreation areas, maintenance and support workshops, and power stations for generation and distribution. There is a 650-kilometer fiber optic cable linking Shaybah to the main radio system at Abqaiq.

When established, the Shaybah oil field had estimated reserves of over 14 billion barrels of crude oil and 25 trillion cubic feet (710 km3) of gas. Saudi Aramco brought the project on-stream in 1998.

The crude is Arabian extra light, a high-quality crude grade with a specific gravity of 42 degrees API and a Sulphur content of less than 0.7 percent. The oil reservoir is found at a depth of 1,494 meters and is itself 122 meters thick.

The oil pipeline from the Shaybah field to Abqaiq is 638 kilometers long, while the pipelines within the field itself total 735 kilometers in length. In 2016 Aramco increased oil output from 750,000 b/d to one million b/d.