The state of Kuwait is moving forward to engage international oil companies (IOCs) in the development of some of its oil fields for a limited period under a contract with the recently established Oil Development Company (ODC). The aim of IOC involvement is to improve performance in a number of areas in the upstream sector including those related to environmental activities.

Implementation strategies for environmental regulations, being the responsibility of the Kuwait Environmental Public Authority (KEPA), are still evolving. Nevertheless, compliance with Kuwait Environmental regulations must be timely fulfilled. This situation could be of a concern especially if delegation of authority by KEPA to ODC for implementing the environmental regulations is not acceptable.

This paper describes an innovative approach involving cooperation between KEPA and ODC through a partnership framework. The framework is designed to enhance KEPA capabilities and ensure proper enforcement of Kuwait environmental laws and regulations in a manner that parallels the effectiveness of compliance strategies included in the IOC's Environmental Management Systems (EMS).

The cooperation framework is activated through an implementation mechanism that involves a pre-operation compliance assessment and regulatory governance. During the pre-operation compliance assessment, the compliance status of facilities to be operated by IOCs will be determined, while regulatory governance during IOC operation will consist of an implementation framework for Kuwait environmental laws and regulations through cooperation between KEPA and ODC. Environmental compliance audits are part of the implementation mechanism that the ODC would adopt in dealing with the IOC's, which are important management tools to ensure that the facilities operated by IOCs that discharge, emit, prepare, manage, store, or dispose of pollutants or contaminants are in compliance with Kuwait environmental laws and regulations.

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