Kuwait to invite observers to monitor drilling

Kuwait took the unusual step Tuesday of issuing a press release to announce its intention to invite neutral observers to witness its drilling operations along its border with Iraq. Recently Iraq complained Kuwait has used horizontal wells to drain reserves on its side of the border, which Kuwait denied. Kuwait said it wants to prove the falsity of the accusations.


Kuwait took the unusual step Tuesday of issuing a press release to announce its intention to invite neutral observers to witness its drilling operations along its border with Iraq.

Kuwaiti Oil Minister Saud Nasser al-Sabah characterized the Iraqi accusations as "lies in an attempt to escalate tension in the region."

"The United Nations is monitoring our operations in the area. The issue is about a well that is part of an oil field shared by the two countries; our well's daily production is 43,000 bbl. All drilling and extraction of oil by the Kuwait Petroleum Corp. is done by conventional methods and is 100% within Kuwait's territories."

Kuwait's Information Minister Saad bin Teflah al-Ajmi said: "We are ready to receive a neutral technical international committee to prove that we are telling the truth. We cannot dig horizontally because that requires advanced technology and prior knowledge of the oil locations. Our operations on the border with Iraq are carried out in the presence of the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observers Mission, who are deployed on both sides of the border."

Kuwaiti ambassador to the US Mohammed Al-Sabah described the allegations and other recent Iraqi activity as "worrisome," noting the similarity to occurrences 10 years ago.

The Gulf War incident in 1990 in which Iraq invaded Kuwait occurred during similar oil-stealing accusations.

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