Terrorists thwarted at Saudi production center

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 24 -- Saudi officials confirmed a terrorist attack failed to disrupt operation of Saudi Arabia's Abqaiq crude oil processing facility, which handles as much as two thirds of the country's production and most of its exports from the Persian Gulf.

Petroleum Minister Ali bin Ibrahim Al-Naimi said security agencies and Saudi Aramco employees "forestalled a terrorist attempt" that "resulted in a minor fire which was immediately extinguished and resulted in no changes in the production levels of oil or gas in Saudi Arabia."

Dubai's Al-Arabiya television station said an explosion rocked the facility and caused the fire at a pipeline. It said Saudi security forces killed apparent suicide bombers who had tried to storm the plant in two cars.

Al-Arabiya quoted security sources as saying one unit at the facility, which includes processing and pumping stations, had been damaged but did not say which one.

Al-Arabiya said the attackers used cars bearing the Saudi Aramco logo.

In 2004, terrorists killed six oil workers at Saudi Arabia's oil and petrochemical hub of Yanbu on the Red Sea (OGJ, May 10, 2004, p. 26).

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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