Yemen's Houthis claimed Wednesday its Shia militants targeted Saudi Aramco facilities with a missile strike in Jizan on the Red Sea in the kingdom's south, which caused a brief surge in oil, jumping above $54 a barrel in New York, before it slipped back down to a nearly 3-month low on reports that no missiles reached their intended targets, leading to skepticism about the Houthi statement.
An hour after the announcement briefly rattled oil markets, a Saudi oil official indicated that all missiles were intercepted by Saudi defenses — though details still remain unclear and unconfirmed, especially the timeline of when the attack allegedly happened.
It marks the first such Houthi attack on Aramco facilities since the major Sept.14 drone and missile strikes which severely damaged two facilities deep inside Saudi Arabia, knocking all the country's production offline for at least a day.
Reuters reports: "Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saria did not give a timeframe for the assault." State oil giant Aramco itself has not issued confirmation or denial.
And further, the Houthi military statement indicated "the group that has been battling a Saudi-led military coalition for nearly five years had also targeted non-energy Saudi facilities near the border with Yemen," according to Reuters.
Typically either the Saudis or Houthis themselves release some level of video evidence for such major rocket attacks. In past rocket attacks from Yemen onto Saudi soil, Riyadh has released images of missile debris which fell short of the intended target. The Saudis have yet to provide proof that an "intercept" did in fact take place.
The Jazan facility, while not a crude oil production or major export site, is home to a 400,000 barrel-a-day Aramco refinery, which is further expected to operate at full capacity by the end of 2020.