Bahrain said an explosion which caused a large fire on one of its main oil pipelines on November 10 was caused by terrorist sabotage, which it linked to Iran. “The incident was an act of sabotage and a dangerous act of terrorism aimed at harming the higher interests of the nation and the safety of the people,” the interior ministry said on its website.
“Terrorist acts witnessed by the country in the recent period are carried out through direct contacts and instructions from Iran,” the statement quoted Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah al-Khalifa as saying.
Sunni Muslim-ruled Bahrain has for years grappled with protests and sporadic violence from its Shi‘ite majority, which it claims is supported by Shi‘ite Iran.
In Tehran, Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi rejected the allegations as “false talk and childish accusations”, the ministry said on its website.
State-run Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco) closed the flow of oil to the stricken pipeline, the civil defence said in a statement earlier on November 11 and the pipeline fire was extinguished soon after.
Residents close to the incident near Buri village, some 15 kilometres (10 miles) from the capital Manama, were evacuated to a safe shelter, the statement added.
After authorities quashed Shi‘ite-led “Arab Spring” protests in 2011, militants have launched deadly bombing and shooting attacks against security forces that Manama blames on Tehran.
Bahrain relies on the Abu Safa oilfield for the majority of its oil. It shares the field with Saudi Arabia. Oil to Bahrain is transported via the affected pipeline, the 55 km AB pipeline, which has a capacity of 230,000 barrels per day (bpd).
A new 350,000-bpd oil pipeline between the two countries will be completed next year and will serve the planned expansion of Bahrain’s refinery capacity.
Arabian Light crude oil will flow from Saudi Aramco’s Abqaiq plant via the 115-km new pipeline, 73 km of which will run overland and the rest under the Gulf.