Two killed during 'incident' at Saudi Aramco oil facility

Two killed during 'incident' at Saudi Aramco oil facility
Saudi Arabia said at least two people were killed in an accident at the Saasraf oil facility, just weeks after an attack that struck the kingdom's Aramco plant.
2 min read
15 October, 2019
The incident comes just weeks after an attack on Aramco oil facilities [Getty]
At least two people were killed and two others injured in an "incident" at a Saudi oil refinery, authorities said on Tuesday.

The fatalities were a a result of an accident inside the Aramco-run refinery, the company said, dismissing fears of an attack.

No other details were provided.

The incident comes just weeks after two Saudi Aramco installations were targeted in an attack, blamed on Iran, that halved the kingdom's crude output and set oil markets alight.

Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels claimed responsibility, but US officials blamed Tehran, charging that the rebels did not have the range or sophistication to target the facilities.

Tehran has denied involvement and warned of "total war" in the event of any attack on its territory.

Tuesday’s incident came just a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a key deal with Saudi Arabia during a key visit to Riyadh for an OPEC+ grouping aimed at stabilising global oil prices and seeking to calm regional tensions with Iran.

Following talks between Putin and Saudi King Salman, the two countries signed some 20 agreements and contracts worth billions of dollars on aerospace, culture, health, advanced technology and agriculture.

Key among the deals was the agreement to bolster cooperation among the so-called OPEC+ countries - the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries plus 10 non-members of the cartel.

Moscow is not a member of OPEC, but it has worked closely with the group to limit supply and push up prices after a 2014 slump that wreaked havoc on the economies of Russia and cartel heavyweight Saudi Arabia.

Read more: How Saudi Aramco is powering the global climate crisis

Monday's deal seeks to "reinforce cooperation ... and strengthen oil market stability", Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said at the signing ceremony.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov told reporters that Putin and Saudi officials also discussed "military and technical cooperation".

In October 2017, Russia and Saudi Arabia signed a memorandum of understanding paving the way for Riyadh's purchase of Moscow's powerful S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems.

The sale never materialised, however, as Saudi Arabia eventually opted to purchase a US system.

On Monday, Putin said "Russia attaches particular importance to the development of friendly, and mutually beneficial ties with Saudi Arabia". 

King Salman told Putin: "We look forward to working with Your Excellency on everything that will bring security, stability and peace, confront extremism and terrorism and promote economic growth."

Moscow and Riyadh, a traditional US ally, have made a striking rapprochement in recent years, marked in particular by King Salman's first visit to Russia in October 2017.

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