Ministry: Saudi Arabia May Use Seized Iraqi Pipeline to Transport Gas
Saudi Arabia may use a seized Iraqi oil pipeline running through the kingdom to transport gas after carrying out repairs and technical changes, a Saudi Oil Ministry source said Wednesday.
"We could use the pipeline for various purposes, including carrying gas, within the framework of our expansion projects in the oil and gas sectors," the "high-level" source said in the English-language daily Arab News, quoted by AFP.
Most of Iraq's dual pipeline runs parallel to a Saudi pipeline from Jubail on the Gulf to the Red Sea port of Yanbu.
"A joint management of the two pipelines is feasible both economically and technically," the paper said.
The ministry source said the 1.65 million barrel per day pipeline would help increase energy sources in western Saudi Arabia, especially for refining and industrial uses.
Saudi Arabia has launched a natural gas initiative to provide feedstock for industry and meet the demands of a rapidly growing population.
Saudi authorities announced the seizure of Iraq's pipeline, which was built in the late 1980s at a cost of $2.2 billion to transport Iraqi crude to the Red Sea, in a letter to the United Nations on Monday.
Saudi Arabia disconnected the pipeline after Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, and it has not been used since.
In a letter to Annan, the Saudi ambassador to the United Nations, Fawzi bin Abdul Majeed Shobokshi, said Iraqi threats of aggression had "destroyed any rationale" for maintaining the pipeline.
Shobokshi said "the just compensation due to the government of Iraq" for the seizure should be deducted from Riyadh's claims against Baghdad for damages and losses resulting from the invasion of Kuwait.
Iraq has denounced what it called the "hostile" action and informed the United Nations it will demand compensation.
The Saudi decision came only one week after the kingdom alleged in a complaint to the United Nations that Iraq launched an attack on its border last month. But Iraq rejected the accusations.
Shobokshi had said that an Iraqi patrol crossed the border May 23 and traveled about 400 meters (yards) into Uwayqilah in Saudi territory, opening fire on the border patrol.
The Saudi troops retaliated, and in the exchange of fire "a number of Saudi soldiers were wounded," he told the UN.
"An Iraqi soldier found wounded was hospitalized and died a short time later of his injuries."
Baghdad regularly accuses Saudi Arabia and Kuwait of violating Iraq's borders by providing bases for US and British warplanes that enforce flight bans in the north and south of the country - Albawaba.com
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