RealNews

Once seen as an alarmist fear, an attack on key Saudi oil terminal could destabilise west

When Fadel Gheit first warned of his “nightmare scenario” that Saudi Arabia’s main oil export terminal at Ras Tanura could be wiped out by terrorists, he was dismissed as an alarmist. It was the week after the September 11 attacks in New York, where he is based. But the oil analyst began to think there was another target that would have an even more devastating impact if hit. As fears of upheaval in Saudi helped set world crude oil prices to 21-year highs of $42.45 per barrel ahead of an Opec ministerial meeting today, there were fewer willing to scoff at Mr Gheit. “I cannot think of any more logical target for terrorists. It [Ras Tanura] is the nerve centre for the Saudi oil trade but also for global exports. If you can blow up the Pentagon in broad daylight, then it cannot be impossible to fly a plane into Ras Tanura – and then you are talking $100 [per barrel] oil,” he says. Saudi Arabia is the linchpin for world crude supplies, a key to setting prices and yet sitting on a political tinderbox due to internal dissent and having trouble securing itself against terrorism. Full Story

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