Suicide bombers in explosives-laden cars attempted to attack an oil processing facility that handles about two-thirds of Saudi Arabia’s petroleum output today, but were stopped when guards opened fire on them, causing the cars to explode, officials said.
The Saudi oil minister said the blast “did not affect operations” at the Abqaiq facility, denying an earlier report on Al-Arabiya television that the flow of oil was halted briefly.
The facility “continued to operate normally.
Export operations continued in full,” the minister, Ali Naimi, said in a statement.
The price of oil jumped by more than 1.20 US dollars on world markets as they heard of the attack.
The April delivery price of Nymex sweet light crude, the US benchmark, rose 1.26 US dollars to 61.80 US dollars.
The European benchmark, Brent crude, leaped 1.21 US dollars to 61.75 US dollars for April delivery.
The huge Abqaiq processing facility, also known as Buqayq, handles around two-thirds or so of Saudi Arabia’s oil output, according to the US Department of Energy’s Energy Intelligence Agency.