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U.S. oil group says FBI warns fuel storage operators to be on alert

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. officials have warned energy companies to be on the alert for "potential terrorist activities" at fuel storage plants but there were no immediate threats, an oil industry group told members on Friday.

The Petroleum Marketers Association of America told members the Federal Bureau of Investigation "is concerned about terrorists attempting to purchase or steal fuel from a bulk plant to use in a weapon of mass destruction."

The PMAA said it sent members a message on Friday after the FBI handed out the warning at an energy conference last week ahead of the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington.

The FBI had no immediate comment.

The PMAA message to members said the FBI warned fuel marketers should be on alert for new customers who are not from the area, drivers who are not familiar with truck or vehicle operations, and people who store fuel in unusual locations or containers.

A PMAA official said the FBI wrote the alert last year. "It is not for any recent activity just a list red flags to alert bulk plant operators of suspicious activity," the official said.

A senior law enforcement official in the New York area said he was unaware of any alert or any threat to oil storage plants. A senior national security officer said he was not aware of any "acute alert" related to fuel storage facilities.

(Reporting by Timothy Gardner and Mark Hosenball; Editing by Eric Beech and Eric Walsh)

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