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How Iran Used Google To Disrupt 5% Of Global Oil Production

Officials at Saudi Aramco believe that Iran used satellite maps from Google Maps to precisely attack the oil facilities in Saudi Arabia in the middle of September, a U.S. Senator who visited the Kingdom after the attacks said, raising concerns that no energy infrastructure is safe.

Joe Manchin, Senator for West Virginia, visited Saudi Aramco facilities two weeks after the attacks. The U.S. Senator spoke to Aramco officials and shared part of his conversation during the North American Infrastructure Leadership Forum in Washington, as carried by the Washington Examiner.

On September 14, the Abqaiq facility and the Khurais oil field in Saudi Arabia were hit by attacks, which resulted in the temporary suspension of 5.7 million bpd of Saudi Arabia’s crude oil production, or around 5 percent of global daily oil supply.

U.S. President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry all blamed Iran for the attack. Saudi Arabia has also pointed the finger at Iran.

Senator Manchin was shown a video of the missile attacks in Saudi Arabia, he said at the forum.

The Senator asked a Saudi Aramco official whether the oil giant is concerned about someone working at the facility getting the information or the coordinates of possible strikes to hostile actors.

Related: Pakistan’s New Energy Proposal Is A Double-Edged Sword

“He looked at me and said, ‘If we thought that was a problem, we would be, but basically it’s all Google, Google Maps.’ He said, ‘It’s so accurate,’” the Senator said, as carried by Washington Examiner.

The revelation that clear images on Google Maps can help terrorists target oil and gas facilities had Senator Manchin worried about the state of the U.S. energy infrastructure, especially natural gas pipelines.

An attack on a single natural gas pipeline in the United States could lead to mass blackouts, Neil Chatterjee, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), said last month, discussing America’s energy infrastructure in the aftermath of the attacks in Saudi Arabia.

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