Amid protests in Iran’s oil-producing Khuzestan Province, triggered by a severe water crisis, Iran’s Petroleum Ministry denied that it had plans to drain the Hour al-Azim marshes for oil exploration by diverting natural water flows to the area.
Kasri Nouri, head of the oil ministry’s press office on Friday told Rokna news agency that “environmentalists are talking nonsense” and the ministry “has said for years that it has no opposition to allowing more water to flow to the marshes bordering Iraq. Hour al-Azim region has substantial oil deposits and exploration as well as production has gone for years around the natural reserve.
The issue of draining the marshes started during the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, when in 2008 his government gave 7,500 hectares of the area to the oil ministry for exploration.
Ahmad-Reza Lahijanzadeh, a top official at Iran’s governmental Environmental Protection Organization had said in a television program on July 16 that the Japanese were ready to use special technologies in 2000s to extract oil in the marshes without environmental damage but when the Chinese came into picture, they argued that this would be very expensive.
He added that Chinese companies were able to get the permission of the Supreme National Security Council in 2010 to start exploration and production according to their own plan.
After Lahinjanzdeh’s remarks, other environmental experts also alleged that Chinese companies want to pursue their projects at minimum cost and pursue the goal of draining the marshes.
Source » trackpersia