Saudi Arabia could use a seized Iraqi oil pipeline that runs through the kingdom to transport gas after carrying out repairs and technical changes, a Saudi oil ministry source said Wednesday, June 13. "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.
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 Iraqi 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.
Al-Riyadh, another Saudi paper, on Wednesday defended the confiscation as "legitimate and legal."
The kingdom acted "at the opportune moment to re-establish its sovereignty over a pipeline which passes through its territory and for which it paid a large part of the cost," the paper said.
"Saudi Arabia has thus defended its interests," especially as Iraq has allegedly carried out several attacks on the border, it said.
Iraq last week denied Saudi charges that it had provoked a string of border incidents since March. — (AFP)
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