General Environmental Regulations and Rules for Implementation
These Regulations implement the Environmental Act No. 193 of 2001. These standards apply to all facilities in the Kingdom, existing and newly designed, public, and private, except for facilities exempted explicitly by the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment. A facility means any installation or activity expected to be a source of pollution or environmental deterioration. Under this regulation, the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment, an agency of the Ministry of Defence, is charged with the general supervision of environmental affairs in Saudi Arabia.
These regulations aim at setting forth the procedures, ground and basis for regulating all actions having an impact on the environment, in addition to the coordination of response operations, pollution control, protection of natural resources and programs for related investment funds. It includes the types of environmental violations and appropriate penalties for protecting human health from pollution both at present and in the future.
With respect to air pollution, the regulation does not include limits on emissions of methane, but it does apply limitations that may indirectly affect emissions from oil and gas facilities. Specifically, the regulation sets limits on all smoke, gases, or vapours and solid or liquid residue resulting from the burning of fuels for industrial purposes. The regulation also establishes air pollution source standards for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that apply to certain oil and gas facilities. For example, it requires that large-capacity storage vessels be equipped with vapour emission control systems to control VOCs.
Furthermore, fugitive emissions of VOCs from petroleum and petrochemical processes shall be limited through the utilisation of good maintenance and inspection procedures as well as monitoring of potential VOC emission points.
The regulations require violators to remedy any damage and submit a report showing the steps to prevent recurrence of violations. The regulation also establishes penalties and fines for breach of the environmental standards and prescribes enforcement procedures, including inspections and monitoring by specialised personnel; use of automatic detection for monitoring; notification of violations; use of international and regional reporting frameworks; and observation using satellites and remote sensing devices.
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