A terrorism analyst warned that an attack on Saudi oil infrastructure could create massive problems for the global market.
Saudi military officials have deployed remote-controlled technology aimed at defusing explosives at the Abqaiq oil facility in eastern Saudi Arabia, reports Bloomberg News. Global oil prices climbed $2 per barrel after a terrorist attack was thwarted there in 2006.
Paul Sullivan, a terrorism analyst at Georgetown University, told Bloomberg that an attack on Abqaiq would be devastating.
"An all-out hit that shut it down for weeks or months could bring the oil price to $250 a barrel or even much more," he said. "This would also change the psychology of the entire world oil market's sense of risk and vulnerability."
Abqaiq has the capacity to produce more than 7 million barrels of oil per day and is associated with the largest oil fields in the world.
Apart from deploying new defense technology to the facility, the Saudi government reached a $29.4 billion deal in December to purchase 84 F-15 fighter planes from Boeing Co.
A similar 8-page brief published in 2006 by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank, notes that the state-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Co. said it has redundancies in place that would keep oil production at near capacity should Abqaiq be attacked.