Saudi Aramco alerted of possible terrorist attacks

Company was urged to strengthen security after information about possible attack on oil installations was gathered

Saudi Aramco's Abqaiq plant was targeted by militants in 2006.
Saudi Aramco's Abqaiq plant was targeted by militants in 2006.

Saudi Aramco has been urged to take security measures, after a threat about possible terrorist attacks on oil installation or a shopping mall was detected.

“We have informed security forces to be on alert and to take any necessary security procedures” after gathering information about “a possible terrorist attack attempt,” spokesman of the Interior Ministry General Mansour Al-Turki told Bloomberg in a phone interview on Monday.

Al-Turki did not provide additional information but said shopping malls in the capital have also alerted to a possible attack.

"There was information about a possible act targeting a mall or Aramco installations. We passed this information to the security forces to be on alert," he told Reuters.

"Saudi Arabia is targeted by terrorism. Usually in such situations (conflicts), there are attempts by terrorist groups to take advantage and carry out attacks," said Al-Turki.

Saudi Arabia is facing a renewed wave of security threats on the back of past attacks against its oil infrastructure and foreign nationals,

Last month the U.S. Embassy stopped its consular services in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dhahran amid safety concerns.

“Al-Qaeda has threatened oil and other economic nodes in Saudi Arabia,” Paul Sullivan, a Middle East specialist, told Bloomberg.

“They would target these sites to disrupt the sense of safety in the kingdom, to try to diminish the credibility of the leadership of Saudi Arabia and to create a new marker for what they will and can do.”

 

In 2006, four militants breached the gates of Saudi Aramco's Abqaiq plant but did not manage to cause significant damage before being taken down by security guards, according to Saudi authorities.

The plant is Aramco's largest oil processing facility to date and at the time processed 70% of the country's crude.

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait said in March they would stregthen security around oil facilities after an Arab-allied military operation started in Yemen.

The Deputy Crown Prince and the Kingdom's Interior Minister, Mohammed bin Nayef, stressed the importance of "strengthening all security measures on the borders of the kingdom and in all public utilities and around the oil and industrial facilities" in a statement carried by state news agency SPA.

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