Source AP ©

Saudi officials unveil gas explosion death toll

Death tall from Saudi Arabia's gas pipeline explosion last weekend was unveiled by the officials of the state oil company, Aramco. More than 40 people had been killed.

Saudi Arabia's Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi and the company had earlier said that the fire, which broke out just after midnight Saturday during maintenance work, killed 28 people and that 12 others were missing.

The fire occurred about 30 kilometers (19 miles) from Aramco's Hawiyah gas plant. Aramco said earlier that five of its employees were among the killed. There were no other information about the other workers.

On Tuesday, company officials speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media, said six Saudi nationals were among the dead and that the others were from different Asian nationalities.

They said investigation teams recovered seven bodies from the site Monday.

Saudi newspapers reported Tuesday that the force of the explosion had thrown some of the bodies to about 130 meters (yards) away from the blast site and that some of the corpses were completely charred, making it very difficult for forensic experts to identify the deceased.

The fire did not disrupt gas supplies nor was there any link between the explosion and the OPEC summit taking place over the weekend in Riyadh, the Saudis had said and ruled out terrorism.

Aramco is the world's largest oil producer, located on the country's east coast. The Hawiyah plant produces 310,000 barrels of ethane and NGL daily.

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