Kuwait sets new output target of 3.5 million b/d

Kuwait plans to increase its oil production by 350,000 b/d over the next 5 years, part of a larger plan eventually to reduce the Arab nation’s dependence on oil revenues.

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 8 -- Kuwait plans to increase its oil production by 350,000 b/d over the next 5 years, part of a larger plan eventually to reduce the Arab nation’s dependence on oil revenues.

“We are at 3.15 million b/d capacity today and hopefully will push to reach the target of 3.5 b/d in 2015,” said Mohammed Husain, deputy chairman of state oil and gas producer Kuwait Oil Co. (KOC).

The announcement follows the Feb. 2 approval by the Kuwaiti parliament of a 30.8 billion dinar ($106.9 billion) plan that aims eventually at diversifying Kuwait's income away from oil.

Under the new plan, Secretary General for Planning Adel al-Wuqayan said government expenditure for oil development was estimated at some 15.6 billion dinars or just under half of the total budget.

Al-Wugayan made no mention of specific oil and gas projects the government had in mind, but Kuwait’s oil minister Sheikh Ahmed Abdullah al-Sabah last year said the state was planning to spend 25 billion dinars on hydrocarbon development projects over a 20-year period from 2010.

Mohammed Husain did not specify any spending figures in his remarks to reporters, but he did mention several projects aimed at boosting Kuwait’s production capacity. “We are rebuilding capacity lost in the fire,” said Mohammed. Among other projects, new oil and gas gathering stations are due to start up that would continue the country’s efforts to repair damage to facilities from both a fire and an explosion in 2002.

He also said that a new oil and gas gathering center—known as GC-024—would add a further 165,000 b/d to Kuwait’s capacity after testing this month.

Mohammed said an early production facility in Northern Kuwait would eventually add 20,000 bpd capacity, while a second gathering center—known as GC 16—in Western Kuwait would add a further 100,000 b/d.

Meanwhile, following passage of the new budget, Kuwait’s ruler Emir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah appointed non-government members to the country’s top oil policy body, the Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC).

According to a decree published in the country’s official gazette, the new SPC includes seven government members headed by the prime minister, along with 10 non-government members appointed for terms of 3 years.

The SPC, which was formed in 1974 to oversee the country's oil interests, has five ministers who are permanently on the board, including the oil and commerce ministers, along with the prime minister and the governor of the central bank.

Analyst IHS Global Insight noted Kuwait’s oil and gas industry has seen problems over the past year, especially after a tie-up between state-owned Petrochemical Industries Co. and Dow Chemicals was scrapped at the last minute.

IHS Global Insight also noted there were problems over the long-planned and troubled Al-Zour refinery, “which was put on hold, and contractors had to be compensated for their begun work.”

Kuwait’s oil industry suffers an inability to deliver on its future oil and gas production boost program, according to HIS Global Insight.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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