‘We’re on the verge of a massive earthquake’: Saudis worry about quake and flood threat
By BILLY STEELE Saudi Arabia has declared a state of emergency and ordered the closure of its petro chemical refinery in Qatar, the latest in a series of moves the kingdom has taken in the wake of a devastating earthquake that killed more than 200 people.
The emergency decree comes as the government prepares for a major rebuilding effort, which will involve the dismantling of many of the countrys largest oil refineries, including a petro chemicals plant in the capital, Doha.
Saudi Arabia, which has struggled to maintain its global standing and export oil, is among the worlds worst-affected by the quake and its devastating consequences.
On Sunday, Saudi officials said that more than 30,000 people were injured in the quake, which struck in the northeastern province of Zubayr and was centered about 200 miles (330 kilometers) northeast of Doha on Sunday night.
More than 4,000 died, while another 730 were injured.
The quake struck the area where the kingdom’s largest petro factory, Petropol, is located, a sprawling complex of offices, factories and offices.
Petropol is one of the world’s largest refineries and is one that has been hit hard by natural disasters.
Its main plant in Qatif, which is home to the country’s oil export terminal, was destroyed in January, causing $300 million in damages.
Petrochemical plant in Doha, which produces petro additives, was also damaged in January.
Petrol and diesel, a key export ingredient for the Saudi economy, were among the main ingredients of the plant’s crude refining equipment.
Saudi officials said on Monday that Petropo and Petropoil will be shut down and that a new refinery at the nearby port of Dushanbe will be established.
The new refinery will produce diesel, petrol and petroleum products and export them to countries including India, Indonesia, Brazil and Turkey.
The move to shut down Petropogineries comes amid a push by the government to cut subsidies and diversify the country, which imports nearly 60 percent of its oil.
The government has been trying to cut that dependence in recent years, but some officials have complained about the strain the country has placed on the economy.