Saudi foils attempt to smuggle 2mn gallons of fuel
Oil ministry says it was the largest attempt to smuggle diesel since it introduced technology to 'mark' the fuel
Saudi Arabia, whose subsidised fuel prices are among the world's lowest, last week said it foiled a large-scale attempt to illegally export diesel fuel.
About 9mn litres (around 2mn gallons) of the fuel in 450 tankers ‘had been prepared at a number of locations’ in Riyadh and the Eastern region before movement to Dammam port, the Oil Ministry said, as reported by the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
No details were given on the planned destination of the fuel, or whether any arrests were made.
The ministry said it was the largest attempt to smuggle diesel since it introduced technology to ‘mark’ the fuel.
The SPA said the large difference between the domestic and external price of fuel motivates such smuggling attempts.
Saudi petrol prices are the cheapest in the GCC. Motorists in the Kingdom can fill their tanks for around $6 for a sedan or $18 for an SUV.
Oil and gas-dependent GCC economies are coping with plunging revenues after world crude prices fell by more than 60% since early last year.
In October, Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said the kingdom was considering raising domestic energy prices, but last month said his country is not in ‘dire need’ to cut energy subsidies.