Iran oil field fire
Iran oil field fireFile photo

Iran, which last week offered to help the United States help to control the BP oil spill, is burying reports of its own disaster – a six-week-old oil field fire. Three people were killed and 10 others injured in an explosion when the fire broke out in an oil well in late May.

At least 8,000-9,000 barrels of oil, worth approximately half a million dollars, are being spilled every day, according to Iran’s Mehr news agency. The Iranian regime has remained silent, and instead has offered U.S. President Barack Obama help to control the huge British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Except for the Mehr report, Iranian media have almost totally ignored the oil field fire despite the economic and ecological damage. The spill rate is eight times higher than the original estimate of the amount of oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico, but estimates later moved upwards to a range from 20,000-50,000 barrels a day.

The Iran Focus web site reported this week that that the Naft Shahr oil field in western Iran has spread to nearby installations. It said that the government’s oil experts tried to used fire-fighting methods including one that "is exclusively known by Iranian experts" and which "directly attacks the fire by covering up the well's surface."

However, approximately 300 tons of steel structure and equipment have collapsed at the oil field and are hampering efforts to extinguish the fire and stop the oil spill. Iran Focus also reported that all existing water supplies in nearby towns have been tapped by firefighters. Workers have built three artificial lakes near the site.

While the fire raged last week, the Revolutionary Guards said it was willing to help the United States control its oil spill out of humanitarian concerns, despite the American-sponsored sanctions against the Islamic Republic for its continuing unsupervised development of nuclear power.