Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, will not shut any of its oil fields if war erupts unless they receive a direct hit, a senior executive of state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco said.

"Our intent and objective is that we operate until a facility is directly hit," he said in a telephone interview."And we don't believe this will happen given the military power (of the multinational force) amassed here."

Industry sources fear an Iraqi missile attack on Eastern province - where the kingdom's main oil fields are located - would send the world oil market haywire by damaging vital refineries and loading facilities.

Spot prices doubled after Iraq's Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait, on market fears of war and a supply crunch.

Saudi Arabia, the largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, has boosted output by more than 60 percent to compensate world markets for the loss of Iraqi and Kuwaiti crude exports.