KUWAIT CITY, Aug 13, (Agencies): Emergency workers have managed to clean up “the major part” of an oil spill near the joint Kuwaiti-Saudi Al-Khafji oilfield in the Gulf, an official said on Sunday. “The major portion of the main oil spill has been removed,” Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) spokesman Sheikh Talal Al-Khaled Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah said in a statement.
Teams were still working to clean other parts of the spill and coastal areas, he said. Emergency teams have been battling the large oil spill since it appeared off the emirate’s southern coast on Thursday. Sheikh Talal said precautionary measures have been taken around vital installations in Al-Zour area where a huge $30-billion oil complex including a 615,000-barrelper- day refinery is being built.
There were no official reports about the source or size of the spill in the waters near the Al-Khafji field. However, Kuwaiti media on Sunday quoted local oil experts as saying the spill originated from an old 50-kms (31-mile) pipeline from Al-Khafji. The experts estimated that as many as 35,000 barrels of crude may have leaked into the waters off Al-Zour.
Emergency teams have sealed off two power and water desalination plants in the area to prevent contamination. Kuwait depends largely on desalination for its fresh water supplies. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, located south of Kuwait along the Gulf coast, said slicks from the spill had not reached their waters Saudi Arabia, in a statement published by the official SPA news agency, said it had implemented a “crisis management plan” and was conducting an aerial survey of its oil installations along the coast. The KPC said teams from Saudi Arabian Chevron and Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL) had joined the coastal clean-up.
Kuwait will finish cleaning up a crude oil spill in the country’s southern waters in the Gulf this week, a Kuwaiti newspaper report said on Sunday, quoting the country’s oil minister. Essam Al-Marzouq told the Al-Rai newspaper that no more patches of oil have been found and that Kuwait was working on clearing up those near the shore. He did not give a reason for the spill.
On Saturday Kuwait said various services were investigating the incident but did not give the magnitude of the spill near Kuwait’s southern Ras Al-Zour area nor its cause. Ras Al-Zour is where Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) is building the Middle East’s largest oil refinery, with a processing capacity of 615,000 barrels per day and $11.5 billion worth of contracts. The coastal zones have been encircled and coasts were cleaned after making sure that there were no effects of any other oil spots in the sea, Sheikh Talal added in a news statement. He extolled cooperation of citizens and residents who stayed away from the prohibited areas for their safety. Asked about the source of oil spots, he said some samples were taken and sent to laboratories to be analyzed in order to uncover reasons in this matter. The emergency teams of the oil sector have continued to exert their efforts, in collaboration with Ministry of Electricity and Water, to follow up and contain the remaining oil spots in the southern area. This is in line with plans and results of evaluation prepared by emergency teams and the relevant international agencies.