Aramco on alert for Al Qaida oil attack

Monday, December 20, 2004

ABU DHABI Saudi Arabia's oil company said it has been on alert for an Al Qaida attack on oil fields in the kingdom.

The state-owned Aramco issued a statement in wake of a threat by a man purporting to be Osama Bin Laden who urged his supporters to attack Iraqi and Gulf oil facilities. The United States regarded the threat as coming from Bin Laden.

"As the company responsible for the world's largest proven reserves of oil, Saudi Aramco is keenly aware of its responsibility [to protect workers and oilfields]," Aramco said in a statement. "For this reason, Saudi Aramco trains and equips a security force that is professional and responsive. The company's security is, in effect, 'on alert' at all times."

The Aramco statement said "multiple levels of armed Saudi Aramco security personnel were working in close coordination with Saudi government security forces." In April, Aramco president Abdullah Jumah said 5,000 security guards, supported by helicopters, fast patrol boats and infrared sensors, were guarding Saudi oil facilities.

"Sensitive company facilities have additional security requirements for access, including electronic and visual screening similar to that found in sensitive installations around the world," Aramco said.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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