As world leaders bicker in Egypt about repairing damage wreaked by fossil fuels on the climate, the Red Sea serves as a picturesque backdrop. Its coral reefs have been designated a “hope spot” on account of their tolerance to rising sea temperatures, a rare cause for optimism amid the general gloom. But an investigation, the findings of which has found that just 65 miles west of the COP27 summit, an oil terminal is illegally flushing vast quantities of contaminated water into the Red Sea – and is believed to have done so for decades under the joint-ownership of BP, the British energy giant, and its partner, Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC).
The terminal at Ras Shukeir, just across the water from the summit venue, dumps 16 swimming Olympic pools’ worth of highly-polluted water into the sea each day, data suggest – endangering not just the beauty that attracts thousands of divers to Egypt each year but the health of the entire ocean. 
Satellite pictures going back to 1985 show a brown stain which spreads up to a mile wide, creeping out into the sky blue water around the site. The pollution is “produced water”, a byproduct of oil drilling that is pumped ashore from rigs and sits in two large ponds before being flushed, barely treated, out to sea.

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