Saudi gas pipeline fire kills at least 28

At least 28 people were killed and another 10 injured on Nov. 18 when a fire broke out after an explosion along the Haradh-'Uthmaniyah natural gas pipeline in Saudi Arabia's Eastern province.

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 19 -- At least 28 people were killed and another 10 injured on Nov. 18 when a fire broke out after an explosion along the Haradh-'Uthmaniyah natural gas pipeline in Saudi Arabia's Eastern province.

The explosion and blaze occurred when workers were welding a plate on the pipeline, one source said, adding that the gas plant was unaffected. "This is purely maintenance-related," said an adviser to the Saudi oil ministry.

The fire broke out in the early morning hours about 30 km from the Hawiyah gas plant, where maintenance work for new tie-ins was being conducted, Saudi Aramco said in a statement.

"Emergency response teams were immediately mobilized; affected lines have been isolated and the fire has been brought under control," Aramco said.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi said the fire would have no impact on the company's production capacity since it was a new pipeline, while a Saudi adviser to Saudi Arabia's oil ministry said there was no question the fire was an accident. A technical committee will investigate its causes.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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