U.S. Naval forces are on a "heightened state of alert" in the Persian Gulf today after the United Kingdom issued a maritime warning that al-Qaida may be preparing to attack oil interests, including refineries and offshore oil platforms.
According to U.S. Navy officials, the alert has been ordered "as a precaution" based on general public threats made by al-Qaida and additional intelligence about possible terrorist attacks on oil facilities. The officials say however the alert is NOT based on any specific intelligence that pinpoints a possible time or place for an attack.
The British maritime warning, which cautions commercial shipping and oil operators to be vigilant, does mention the ground-based Rastannurah oil facility in Saudi Arabia.
Oil markets appear to have shrugged off the maritime warning. The price of crude is down slightly this morning.