Second Oil Spill Reported in Kuwait’s Ras Al-Zour Waters

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By Zainab Calcuttawala, Oilprice.com

A new oil slick off of Kuwait’s southern shores is spreading in the Persian Gulf and will add on the impact of a recent 35,000-barrel spill in the same water body, according to emerging reports.

The spill is the second reported this week. The first incident, which occurred just 60 kilometers away from the second one, is currently under control, spokesman Sheikh Talal Khaled Al-Sabah of the Kuwait Petroleum Corp said.

The spill reached 1.6 kilometers in length at press time, and measures have been taken to stop the leakage and limit environmental damage, according to the Gulf nation’s Environment Public Authority.

The Ras al-Zour area, in which the new slick appeared, is also home to two power and water desalination plants, both of which were unaffected by the spill.

Experts from Saudi Arabian Chevron and Oil Spill Response Limited have joined the effort to clean up after the leak.

A previous spill over the weekend was attributed to a pipeline leak, though there has been no official confirmation on the size or cause of the accident.

The Kuwait National Petroleum Company is currently building the biggest oil refinery in the Middle East in Ras al-Zour. The facility will be capable of handling 615,000 barrels of crude daily and with $11.5 billion in contracts. The project is worth $30 billion.

The spill is also near an offshore field that is developed jointly by Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, in their neutral zone. The field, Al Khafji, has a 50-kilometer pipeline running to the coast, and it was this pipeline that some industry experts said was the culprit for the spill.

The head of the Environment Public Authority, Sheikh Abdullah al-Sabah, told the Associated Press after the first spill: “There will be severe consequences to those responsible for this incident, and we will prosecute them.”

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