MAKING PROGRESS

Kuwait 2017 | GREEN ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to HE Sheikh Abdullah Ahmad Al-Humoud Al-Sabah, Director of Environmental Public Authority (EPA), on how oil companies can contribute to Kuwait's vision on sustainability and the various projects that are coming to fruition.

HE Sheikh Abdullah Ahmad Al-Humoud Al-Sabah
BIOGRAPHY
HE Sheikh Abdullah Ahmad Al-Humoud Al-Sabah had an extensive military career, ultimately serving as First Lieutenant in the Kuwaiti Army. He previously served as member of the Environment Higher Council and on the board of directors of the Public Authority for Industry, the National Focal Point for Environmental Projects, and the Kuwait Authority for Partnership Projects. Besides his responsibilities at the EPA, he chairs a variety of other initiatives that concern the environment, amongst others the National Committee on Ozone and Climate Change and a standing committee that arbitrates environmental violations.

What steps have been made in balancing development with environmental priorities?

The EPA believes all the cooperating institutions, together with the Kuwaiti oil companies, have a distinctive job in protecting the environment, saving its natural resources, and reached many milestones set earlier in the development of health and safety protocol on the environment. For example, Kuwait has made significant progress in the reduction of gas flaring in the company's operations, reducing leakages within the Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) facilities, and establishing a crisis management center at the headquarters of KNPC. We are committed to implementing the most stringent international rules and regulations in the field of health and safety and the environment in crude oil transfer operations. For our logistics operations, we now have 15 new tankers that have the highest HSE standards. The Kuwait Gulf Oil Company (KGOC) has established three additional stations to monitor the ambient air quality at Khafji Joint Operations with the development of air quality monitoring by installing dust and fine particles and hydrogen sulfide analysis capability. Also, KGOC's Wafra Joint Operations have removed 90% of the liquid, sludge, and waste pits within the project and achieved the total elimination of waste discharges. The international petroleum division is working to cut carbon dioxide emissions resulting from the operation of gasoline stations by providing alternative energy plants through the application of design and installation of a photoelectric system project.

A law was passed to implement tariffs for the use of water and electricity. Will these measures raise awareness about rationalizing consumption of water and electricity?

All these campaigns and measures are implemented to contribute to increasing environmental awareness about the importance of the environment and its natural resources. The issue of rationalization of electricity and water is no longer an individual responsibility, but turned into a collective responsibility because of our responsibility in Kuwait about the high consumption of natural resources and energy, and of course the issue of rationalization is not only limited to how much they are used but will extend the concept to include the protection of the environment and reduce pollution in a world facing global warming. Promoting environmental awareness amongst the broader community is a key priority for the EPA. It is the only guarantee to save citizens and residents from the dangers of environmental pollution. The EPA is seeking to improve environmental awareness, instilling a sense of belonging and stimulating awareness of the depth of the positive relationship between humans and the environment.

How do you expect commitments made at the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in April 2016 to influence policies at the current administration?

Kuwait's vision on sustainability includes a lot of projects, and legislation has been already approved by the midterm development plan. Kuwait was granted the right to proceed with the development and establishment of projects that would enhance the national economy and achieve security of energy supply and provide housing and jobs for citizens without being against Kuwait's obligations toward the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. This is achieved through the establishment of projects that meet the criteria for sustainable development of the state by taking into account environmental, economic, and social aspects. The Zour Refinery and alternative energy plants at the Alshqaya complex are good examples of these, and are subject to global environmental specifications. The projects are targeted to protect the natural resources in the state while retaining the right to request financial and technological support to reduce gas emissions. The Environmental Protection Act No. 24 of 2014 instructs the government and private agencies to improve their production processes, reduce gas emissions, and conserve the natural resources of the state.