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Saudis Suffered No Sabotage to Oil Facilities, Ministry Says

March 2 (Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia experienced no sabotage at its oil facilities in the Qatif area, Major General Mansour Al-Turki, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said late today after reports of a fire near the Ras Tanura refinery.

A fire occurred in an industrial area in the town of Safwa in the Shiite-dominated Qatif area near Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia’s largest refinery, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The blaze didn’t damage the refinery or any pipeline in the area, said two people familiar with the situation who declined to be identified.

Mansour al-Dawsari, a civil defense spokesman for the Eastern province, didn’t immediately return a call for comment. Ras Tanura is 448 kilometers (279 miles) northeast of Riyadh, the Saudi capital, on the Persian Gulf coast.

Oil climbed over $110 a barrel for the first time since May after an Iranian state-run news channel reported an explosion on a pipeline in Saudi Arabia.

Futures reached $110.55 at 3:17 p.m. in New York after Iran’s Press TV reported on its English-language website that “an explosion has hit oil pipelines in the flashpoint Saudi Arabian city of Awwamiya in the kingdom’s oil-rich Eastern province.”

Saudi Arabian Oil Co. planned to shut Ras Tanura yesterday for as many as 45 days of maintenance. The work will be performed in “some parts of the refinery,” Saudi Aramco, as the world’s largest state-owned crude exporter is known, said in a statement on Dec. 31.

The Ras Tanura refinery can process 550,000 barrels a day of crude, according to Saudi Aramco’s website.

To contact the reporter on this story: Wael Mahdi in Cairo at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at Z AB <Equity>

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