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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

Kuwait 'struggling' to stop oil spill near southern Ras Al Zour

Kuwaiti media quoted local oil experts as saying the spill originated from an old 50-kilometre pipeline from the joint Kuwaiti-Saudi offshore Al Khafji oilfield

Workers are seen at Al Zour oil refinery in Kuwait. Courtesy Amec Foster Wheeler
Workers are seen at Al Zour oil refinery in Kuwait. Courtesy Amec Foster Wheeler

Emergency teams are "still struggling" to stop an oil spill near the southern Ras Al Zour area, the spokesman for the country's oil sector has said.

The Kuwait Oil Company, the Kuwait National Petroleum Company, the ministry of electricity and water, the environment public authority and other oil companies are working together to contain the leak, Sheikh Talal Al Khaled Al Sabah said in remarks carried by the official Kuwait News Agency (Kuna) on Saturday.

"They are now focusing their efforts on protecting water outlets near the country's northern and southern Al Zour power and water stations," Sheikh Talal added.

There were no official reports on the source or size of the spill in the waters off Kuwait's southern coast, near the joint Kuwaiti-Saudi offshore Al Khafji oilfield.

But Kuwaiti media quoted local oil experts on Sunday as saying the spill originated from an old 50-kilometre pipeline from the oilfield.

The experts estimated that as many as 35,000 barrels of crude oil may have leaked into the waters off Al Zour, where Kuwait is building a massive US$30 billion (Dh110.2bn) oil complex that includes a 615,000-barrel-per-day refinery.

On Saturday, however, Khafji Joint Operations, which manages the Kuwaiti-Saudi oilfield, said no oil leak had been detected in its area of operations.

In remarks carried by Kuna, KJO public and government relations officer Riyadh Al Hassan, said the company had put an emergency plan into action "immediately following the reports about oil leakage from an oil tanker in northeastern Arabian Gulf waters", including aerial surveillance of the operations zone.

* Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse

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