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Explosions Destroy Saudi Oil Pipeline, Sends Oil Prices Soaring


Alexander Higgins
March 2, 2012

A massive explosion has destroyed Saudi Oil pipelines sending an uncontrolled source of fuel on fire and crude oil prices soaring.

Among the many factors responsible for the jump in WTI to just shy of $109 over the past hour, and Brent to new records in various currencies, is the following news reported so far only by Iranian PressTV:

An explosion has hit oil pipelines in the flashpoint Saudi Arabian city of Awamiyah in the kingdom’s oil-rich Eastern Province.

And some more from Arabian Digest:

Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Revolution hits the oil sector: pipeline under fire

For the first time in decades, the Eastern Saudi Arabian volatile situation has reached the vital oil sector. A pipeline between Awamiya and Safwa has been reportedly targeted, and is under fire. Saudi Arabia’s Shiite minority, mostly residing in the oil rich east, has been protesting for years against State sponsored discrimination. They are treated as second class citizens, denied public sector jobs, and vital development for their oil rich areas. Saudi Arabia’s powerful Wahhabi religious establishment considers Shiites heretics, and constantly incites against them.

Security forces have killed two protesters in Awamiya, Eastern Saudi Arabia. They are launching a series of arrests and raids on houses, schools and mosques. This is Awamiya this evening, protesters have blocked the Police road after arrests in the town.

And now back to your regularly scheduled deflation.

And another update this time a video showing Awamiya, Eastern Saudi Arabia, where the oil fields can be seen from minute three onward.

Another update from Arab Digest:

A new photo of the pipeline under fire, from our Qatif correspondent:

The Eastern region is where most of the oil fields are based. The events, if they continue, might force Saudi Arabia to lower its production expectations this year, thus affecting world supplies, and possible the world economy.

A quick review of the proximal refinery courtesy of Saudi Aramco

Ras Tanura Refinery

The most complex Saudi Aramco refinery is on the Arabian Gulf at Ras Tanura with a crude distillation capacity of 550,000 barrels per day (BPD). Ras Tanura Refinery also has a 305,000 BPD NGL processing facility, a 960,000 BPD crude stabilization facility, 145/158 MW (summer/winter) of combined steam and gas turbine electrical power generation plants, a combined 150 lb and 600 lb steam capacity of 6,217 Mlb/hr, and 75 crude oil and products storage tanks with a combined capacity of 5.8 million barrels.

Ras Tanura Refinery’s major refining facilities include a 325,000 BPD Crude Distillation Unit, a 225,000 BPD Gas Condensate Distillation Unit, 50,000 BPD hydrocracker and a total of 107,000 BPD capacity of catalytic reforming. Ras Tanura Refinery is the only Saudi Aramco refinery that contains a Visbreaker (60,000 BPD). This refinery also produces 17,000 BPD of asphalt, more than any other refinery in the Kingdom. Crude is normally transferred to Ras Tanura through a pipeline and can also be supplied by ship. Most of Ras Tanura’s production is for domestic use and transferred to the Dhahran bulk plant, while some products are exported.

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