‘Oil Ministry’s blockage of water to Hour al-Azim a big lie’

April 13, 2019

TEHRAN — Preventing flood water from entering Hour al-Azim wetland by the Oil Ministry is a “big lie”, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh has said, IRNA news agency reported on Friday.

Hour al-Azim wetland, located in southwestern province of Khuzestan is a transboundary body of water shared between Iran and Iraq. The wetland has been a matter of dispute between environmentalist and Oil Ministry as oil and gas drilling has resulted in the dryness of the wetland as well as other enviornmtal damages in the region.

West Karoun oilfields is situated on Hour al-Azim lakebed. The oilfield which Iran shares with Iraq at the western part of Iran’s southwestern region of Karoun include five major fields namely North Azadegan, South Azadegan, North Yaran, South Yaran and Yadavaran.

The managing director of Iran’s Petroleum Engineering and Development Company (PEDEC) said in mid-March that production of oil from West Karoun oilfields has reached 350,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the past Iranian calendar year (ended on March 20).

West Karoun holds great importance for the country’s oil industry since according to the latest studies, its in-situ deposit is estimated to be 67 billion barrels containing both light and heavy crude oils, and therefore it could have a big impact on Iran’s oil output increases in the future.

And now, following recent extreme rainfalls in western and southwestern Iran 70 percent of the wetland is covered with water and some oil wells have gone underwater.

Over the past few days some have accused National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) of preventing flood water into the wetland to protect oil facilities resulting in inundation of some towns and villages.

However, NIOC categorically denied the accusations and has announced that no efforts have been extended to save oil facilities in the region at a cost to the residents’ lives.

Zanganeh explained that the rumors are mainly aimed at fueling a psychological warfare, stating that “we would never incur loss on the residents for producing more barrels of oil.”

“We have never intervened in measures taken for directing flood water and have always wanted the wetland to be filled with water,” he highlighted.  

Karim Zobeidi, an official with NIOC, has also told IRNA news agency on Thursday that West Karoun oilfields are designed in a way that water cannot cause any damage to it since the very beginning in order to avoid causing any pollution to the wetland.

MQ/MG

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