The Kingdom's Strategic Petroleum Storage Project was inaugurated near Riyadh today by Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard, in the presence of Prince Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector-General, Governor of Riyadh Province Prince Salman Ibn Abdul Aziz and a number of senior officials.
The location which was opened today is one of five sites, the others being near the cities of Jeddah, Abha, and Madinah, and in Qassim Province. The sites have been selected according to security and strategic studies. The Riyadh location is underground, excavated from hills, and reaching a depth of 190 meters in some places. When the project is completed, Saudi Arabia will be able to guarantee provision of its energy needs in the face of any emergency. The fuel reserves at each location will be sufficient for the needs of each region for a period of one year in emergency situations. During normal times, the storage sites will be administered and operated by Saudi Aramco as part of the company's regular supply cycle.
A number of other countries have such storage facilities, including France, Japan, Morocco, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Saudi Arabia, however, has the advantage that its strategic storage locations are linked directly with the daily movement of its petroleum supplies and economic activities, making them self-supportive.