Press Esc to close



For full content view: Log in Now!

  • Energy Issues

    Dr. William J. Pike

    It hardly seems possible, but 20 years ago, this month, the oil fires in Kuwait were still burning brightly. As we wade through the aftermath of Macondo and recent pipeline spills, it is worth remembering that the huge well control effort mounted by the international oil and gas community in Kuwait was one of our greatest achievements. For those of you who don’t remember (and there can’t be many), as Iraqi troops were withdrawing from Kuwait in front of the advancing coalition forces in 1991, special forces from Iraq torched some 750 Kuwaiti oil wells. The results were cataclysmic. The oil fires burned for more than eight months, consuming an estimated 5–6 million bpd of crude oil and 2.4–3.6 Bcfd of natural gas. More than a billion barrels of oil was eventually burned. The oil that did not ignite formed into more than 300 large lakes containing 22.5 million bbl of oil, cumulatively. An additional 10 million bbl of oil poured into the Persian Gulf, severely impacting marine life. Between late February, when the first fires were ignited, and Nov. 6, when the last fire was extinguished, smoke plumes containing a hazardous mixture of gaseous emissions and particulate matter engulfed a downwind area as large as 150,000 sq km, leaving many exposed to the plumes with lingering health issues.1

This area of the site is restricted. In order to gain access, please either Log In, or subscribe to World Oil.

Two options are available to you for creating an account.

1. Get a Free Trial Subscription to World Oil Magazine and gain immediate access to select content on World Oil Online.

Start a Free Trial Subscription and gain immediate access to the complete current issue of World Oil Magazine. Plus, you’ll receive 3 upcoming issues of World Oil Magazine in print or digital format.* You also receive access to the Energy Events Calendar, Industry Statistics and WO Wire’s news and industry coverage.

Free Trial

2. Purchase a subscription to World Oil magazine and gain immediate and complete access to World Oil Online. As a Total Access subscriber you will have access to all areas of the site available to registered users and free subscribers as well as having access to such premium content areas as:

  • The Archives section containing over ten years of complete magazine archives,
  • The WO DataHub's engineering tables and directories,
  • The World Oil annual forecasts, including past predictions,
  • Select World Oil technical handbooks,
  • And much, much more!


Physical copies of this content may be available for purchase. Visit the Reprints & Back Issues section.

If you are already a paid subscriber and do not have access, please email



Engineering Data Tables

World Oil's specialized upstream Engineering Data Tables featuring the Drill Bit Classifier, Tubing Tables and more. Get Total Access today.


2013 Fracturing Technology

2013 Fracturing Technology