DHAHRAN, Saudi Arabia, June 23 (UPI) -- State-owned company Saudi Aramco said there was no factual basis to claims raised by a former employee that there was a secret Persian Gulf oil spill in 1993.
Nicholas Pozzi, a former manager for Saudi Aramco, was quoted in Voice of America as saying he helped his company deal with a 1993 oil spill in the Persian Gulf. Saudi Aramco said there was no such spill in 1993.
Pozzi was speaking on cleanup efforts under way in the Gulf of Mexico. He said he helped Saudi Aramco clean up about 85 percent of the total oil spilled in the Persian Gulf in a 1993 accident.
Saudi Aramco in a statement said it "unequivocally refutes allegations reported in several news media and Internet blogs about an alleged 'secret' oil spill during 1993 in the (Persian) Gulf."
The company acknowledged that it took part in cleanup operations in the Persian Gulf in 1991 following an environmental catastrophe from the first Persian Gulf War. Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein ordered oil valves opened to the Persian Gulf in 1991 to thwart an expected landing of U.S. Marines, dumping around 11 million barrels of oil into the gulf.
Saudi Aramco confirmed that Pozzi worked as a foreman for the company but made "no significant contribution" to any spill response team.
"The claims made about his alleged efforts at a 1993 oil spill response operation are without factual basis," the state-owned company added.