WASHINGTON,(Reuters) – The United States is working with Saudi Arabia to ensure the kingdom’s oil facilities are protected from “a credible threat” of an attack by al Qaeda, a Saudi government official said on Monday.
Al Qaeda recently said it planned to attack Saudi oil facilities and last week the United States pledged to help the kingdom after Britain’s Royal Navy said that coalition forces in the Gulf had been deployed to protect the Saudi Ras Tanura Terminal, the world’s biggest offshore oil facility.
“As you know, in the last few days there’s been a credible threat and the United States is standing with Saudi Arabia shoulder-to-shoulder to ensure that the (oil) installations, the vital installations, are not going to be taken out,” said Saudi Minister of State Abdullah Alireza.
Alireza made his comments in a speech to the annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference being held in Washington.
Alireza later told Reuters that Saudi officials have stepped up security at the kingdom’s oil facilities in the last few days. “They have informed people to be on the lookout. They are already securing some of these important facilities,” he said.
However, the extra precaution will not slow or delay the loading of any oil tankers, the minister said. “Shipments are going to continue on time,” he said.