Minister of Petroleum and Minerals Ali Bin Ibrahim Al-Naimi today inaugurated a conference in Riyadh entitled 'Oil Spills and the Marine Environment in the Gulf: Prevention is Better than Treatment', organized by the Saudi Arabian Texaco Company in collaboration with oil companies operating in the Arabian Gulf.
Chairman of Saudi Texaco Ahmed Awad Al-Omer explained that his company is acting on the Kingdom's behalf to manage oil and mineral resources in offshore areas of the neutral region between Saudi Arabia and the State of Kuwait. The company also undertakes exploration and production operations in partnership with the Kuwait Oil Corporation. Reviewing the measures being taken by his company to protect the maritime environment, he spoke of the use of remote control technology to provide detailed satellite photographs, seismological surveys to search for oil, and long-term studies on fish and sea creatures, in addition to integrated programs to deal with oil spills.
Addressing the gathering, Minister Al-Naimi said the seas surrounding the Kingdom are crucial as a source of potable water as well as for transportation. He attested to the Kingdom's concern to preserve these seas from potential oil leaks arising from the intensive traffic that transports crude oil, recalling the oil spills in 1991 during the war for the liberation of Kuwait that were estimated at 11 million barrels and which negatively affected the coasts of the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), constituting an environmental disaster that caused great depletion of resources. Minister Al-Naimi declared that the Kingdom strenuously seeks to apply the most advanced techniques in protecting the environment, in addition to imposing strict measures on vessels that breach regulations.
Executive secretary of the regional organization for the protection of the maritime environment Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Awadi reviewed incidents of sea pollution resulting from oil, and spoke of the Maritime Emergency Mutual Aid Center (MEMAC), which was established in Bahrain in 1983 with the aim of enhancing cooperation among oil companies in confronting oil contamination in the region.