Saudi Arabia’s offshore oil facilities are due for a security upgrade, according to a new report by Reuters.
State-owned oil and gas giant Saudi Aramco has already received bids from defense contractors from around the world for the project. U.S.-based Raytheon Co. and Germany’s Rheinmetall AG are amongst the companies who responded to the tender.
The contract currently open for bids will install long-range security systems at nine of the KSA’s offshore sites in the Persian Gulf, according to Aramco sources who spoke to Reuters. Those tenders are expected to expand once senior officials approve new oil fields and associated security protocols.
Aramco denied comment on the new security measures, but issued a statement that said it “considers the security of its employees and facilities a top priority and are of the utmost importance.”
Last month, Saudi Arabia, the world’s top crude oil exporter, said it had detained three Iranians who it accused of being members of the Shiite country’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. Saudi authorities caught them near the Marjan oilfield, traveling on a boat. Iran maintains those men were fishermen.
In April, Saudi armed forces reported a foiled attempt to blow up an oil product distribution center in Jazan, a province bordering Yemen in the Kingdom’s southwest. The SPA said a remote-controlled vessel loaded with explosives was spotted leaving a small island in Yemeni waters. The KSA suspected the Houthi rebels of Yemen of perpetrating the attack and vowed to defend itself against assaults on its economy in the Red Sea.
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Saudi Arabia’s oil and gas operations have been hit by cyberattacks in recent years as well. In 2012, an attack on Aramco caused the corporation to lose all files on its main hard drives.
The OPEC leader is currently embroiled in several geopolitical conflicts within its own region. The KSA has been fighting a proxy war against Iran inside Yemen for over a year now. Starting in June, Riyadh and its Gulf allies declared a diplomatic row with Doha for the latter’s alleged ties to organizations that breed sectarian violence.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…