Saudi customs thwart big fuel smuggling bid from Gulf port

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(Image for illustrative purposes).

(Image for illustrative purposes).

Saudi Arabia's customs authorities have thwarted an attempt to smuggle over 3,260 metric tonnes of refined petroleum products out of the country's Gulf port of Dammam, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

King Abdulaziz Port Customs general manager Othman al-Riqei was quoted as saying on Tuesday that the smugglers had tried to disguise their operation by mislabelling 296 large metal containers containing barrels.

The report did not say which fuels were seized or where they were headed, but subsidised Saudi vehicle fuels are among the cheapest in the world and several countries in the region, including Iraq, Iran, Yemen and Pakistan, have struggled to meet their demand with domestic production.

It was not clear from the report whether arrests had been made in the case. Fuel smuggling rings are uncovered periodically in Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter.

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