Monday, 28 June 2010

Oil minister may limit offshore Suez rigs after spill

Egypt 's Oil Minister Sameh Fahmi has told the press that the government is considering reducing drilling in the Gulf of Suez after crude oil washed ashore for several days.

Oil began to appear on the shores of the popular Red Sea diving resort Hurghada, with a spillage from an oil rig as a "probable cause" of the leak, although an investigation is ongoing to determine the exact source of the pollution.

Egypt produces about 700,000 b/d, and the oil ministry says there are 188 rigs operating in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Suez where Egypt's largest oil field, Belayim, is located.

The oil ministry estimates that no more than 30 barrels were leaked; a figure which is disputed by environmental activists.

The government has focused its cleaning operation on Hurghada, given its importance to the Egyptian tourist industry. Environmentalists argue that two islands of lesser tourist importance continue to be neglected, and have called for wider cleaning operations in the region.

For more news and expert analysis about Egypt, please see Egypt Politics & Security.
© 2010 Menas Associates

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