Attack Increases Doubts about Saudi Ability to Pump More Oil

(New York Times) The latest attack on foreign residential and office complexes in Saudi Arabia has ratcheted up concern over the nation's ability to increase oil production at a time when global petroleum supplies are becoming increasingly sensitive to any disruptions. The timing of the attack in Khobar also appears to have been intended to inflict damage on the credibility of Saudi officials in Beirut this week for an OPEC meeting. The Khobar attack was the second major violent incident in less than a month in Saudi Arabia, after an attack earlier this month in Yanbu, a petrochemical complex on the western Saudi coast. One of the buildings attacked in Khobar, called the Petroleum Center, held the offices for companies that had recently entered into gas exploration ventures with Saudi Aramco, including Total of France, Royal Dutch/Shell, Lukoil of Russia, and Sinopec of China. In a taped statement posted on Islamist websites, Abdulaziz al-Muqrin, a leader of al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia, claimed responsibility for the Khobar attack and promised more violence in the months ahead. He repeated earlier calls to rid the Arabian peninsula of "infidels."

2004-05-04 00:00:00

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