A fire that broke out in a gas pipeline near the Hawiyah gas plant in Saudi Arabia yesterday has killed 28 people, Saudi Aramco said.
The state oil company said in a statement the fire was caused by a gas leak in the pipeline around 30 kilometres from the natural gas liquids plant and has since been brought under control.
The death toll includes five Aramco employees.
Most of the dead appeared to be Asian workers along with at least one Lebanese national.
“It appears to be an accident rather than an act of sabotage,” one Western diplomat told Reuters.
Aramco is undertaking projects to boost output at the natural gas liquids recovery plant in Hawiyah.
The Hawiyah programme will produce 310,000 barrels of ethane and NGL products by 2008, through the plant and an expansion of the Juaymah gas fractionation plant near Ras Tanura.
Aramco sources said the fire was unlikely to cause serious delays to the Hawiyah project, as it broke out some distance away in the Haradh-Othmaniya area.
Japan’s JGC Corporation was awarded the contract for the Hawiyah NGL and related facilities.
Italian Eni’s Snamprogetti is carrying out work related to gas treatment and compression facilities.
Contracts for communication and plant infrastructure facilities were signed with local contractors.