Khurais (Saudi Arabia) (AFP)

The Khurais oil rig in eastern Saudi Arabia was hit four times on September 14, and fires lasted five hours, said Saudi oil giant Aramco, who manages the site. a visit by journalists.

Reporters, invited to inspect the damage, saw scenes of destruction on the ground, with cranes deployed amid debris burned after the attacks claimed by the Houthi rebels, but which Ryad and Washington attributed to Iran.

In Khurais, technicians were busy assessing the major damage to a "stabilizer", a metal tower used to remove dissolved gas and hydrogen sulfide from the oil.

At the time of the attack, which halved the kingdom's oil production and caused the oil price to soar, "there were more than 200 to 300 people inside the facility," said Fahad Abdelkarim. one of Aramco's directors.

"There were four explosions," he said, and several fires then raged, said Abdelkarim who guided the reporters through the site.

"No one was hurt," he said. The material damage, on the other hand, is considerable: large metal pipes have been deformed by the impact of the explosions and are scattered in the target area of ​​the attack.

According to the Saudi authorities, no less than 18 drones and seven cruise missiles were used in these attacks.

Despite the scale of the damage, Aramco remains optimistic about the full recovery of production by the end of September.

"An emergency team has been set up to repair the plant, revive the activities and bring back (production) to its usual level," said Abdelkarim.

"In less than 24 hours, 30% of the plant was operational," he said, saying "production will be at the same level as before the attack by the end of the month."

"We will come back stronger," he promised.

© 2019 AFP