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Saudi Arabia needs to explain how its oil deposits in Abqaiq have been attacked, says the former US diplomat



Smoke from an Aramco oil factory in Abqaiq after drone strikes triggered fires in two Saudi Aramco oil factories.

AFP | Getty Images

Saudi Arabia has "much to explain" why it could not protect its "most critical" oil factory from drone strikes over the weekend, said Gary Grappo, former US ambassador to Oman.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the kingdom spent an estimated US $ 67.6 billion on weapons in 201

8. Saudi Arabia was just behind the US and China in terms of defense spending, Grappo told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Tuesday.

"I think the Saudi leadership has a lot of explanations to do this, a country that is third in terms of defense spending in total defense spending … could not defend its most critical position, and I can not stressing enough, its most critical oil facility from such attacks, "said Grappo, who previously held senior US Embassy positions in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and Baghdad, Iraq.

Saudi Arabia is one of the world's largest oil exporters, and the damage to its oil factories sparked fears that supply would be cut off worldwide.

It's a bit alarming that these people got through … they were extremely precise, they knew exactly what to do, they hit perfect,

Bob McNally

Rapidan Energy Group

Oil prices rose following the attack on the Saudi Aramco oil processing plant on Saturday at Abqaiq and the nearby Khu oil field. This destroyed 5.7 million barrels of daily oil production – more than half of Saudi Arabia's daily exports and more than 5% of the world's daily oil production.

The US and Saudi Arabia blamed Iran for the attacks. [19659002] "Talking about drones, now drones are not so easy to spot, but they still had to realize that this is a powerful option given the attacks they have experienced in past oil factories, at airports and in Europe was elsewhere, "said the former diplomat, who is now a respected member of the University of Denver. In 2006, security officials blocked an attack by Al Qaeda fighters on the facility.

Bob McNally, founder and president of consultancy Rapidan Energy Group, said he was "disappointed but not surprised" about the attack. He said he expected Riyadh to "increase the defense," especially after al Qaeda's previous attempt to attack its facilities.

– They were extremely precise, they knew exactly what to do, they hit perfect, "he told CNBC's" Squawk Box "on Tuesday.

" As far as we know, they could come back. So no cause for complacency, in my view. "


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