Opposition to Hoor-al-Azim Drillings

Opposition to Hoor-al-Azim DrillingsOpposition to Hoor-al-Azim Drillings

The oil ministry has rejected an oil drilling project in West Karun region on account of potential environmental consequences of the operations on Hoor-al-Azim wetland, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh was quoted by ISNA as saying Tuesday.

Hoor-al-Azim is a transboundary wetland located on the border of Iran and Iraq and is fed by Karkheh River, Daviraj River, and a branch of Arvand River. The lagoon's renowned ecosystem is on the brink of destruction due to obsolete and outdated oil-extraction operations, which have rendered the wetland dry, turning it into one of the sources of dust and particle pollution in the region.

Any oil drilling activity which is to be carried out should take into account potential aftermaths so as to prevent the wetland from drying up and avert any harm to the surrounding environment, Zanganeh said.

The Department of Environment (DoE) voiced its opposition to outdated oil-extraction methods in the world famous wetlands, calling for scientifically sound and environmentally- friendly extraction methods.

To extract oil, a wide road is built which cuts through the wetland, dividing it in half; one half is filled with water and the common reed, while the other is completely dried up.

"If they have the know-how to set up an offshore oil platform, they can set up an oil rig on land. But they decided to dry up the wetland obviously to save money," Ahmadali Keykha, deputy managing director of the DoE said in March.

"The oil ministry is committed to protect the environment," Zanganeh said, adding the ministry will ensure environmental concerns are fully addressed.

West Karun is an oil rich region in southwest Iran, which includes Yaran and Mansouri fields as well as Yadavaran and North and South Azadegan joint fields with Iraq.