Kuwait boosts production, shies from privatisation

Production raised by up to 260,000 barrels per day, says oil minister

Mohammad al-Busairi arriving at the ill-fated OPEC conference in June. GETTY IMAGES
Mohammad al-Busairi arriving at the ill-fated OPEC conference in June. GETTY IMAGES

Kuwait’s oil minister has confirmed that the country has raised production in the wake of calls for inceased supply and a pledge made jointly with Saudi Arabia and the UAE to provide an adequate cushion between levels of oil supply and demand.

"Our production now on average is around 2.55 million bpd to 2.7 million barrels per day (bpd), and that is at least what the market needs or what our customers request," Mohammad al-Busairi told Saudi’s Al-Arabia TV yesterday.

The latest monthly Reuters survey showed Kuwait, the world's fourth largest oil exporter, pumped 2.44 million bpd in May.

The failed OPEC meeting in early June led to Kuwait making a pledge to unilaterally increase production.

In an interview segment aired later on Monday, Busairi said OPEC held 3 to 4 million bpd of spare capacity.

"Opec countries have this production capacity...and they can provide oil to the market if needed," Busairi said."Our policy is not to flood the market or push the prices down or try to flood the market with whatever (oil) it doesn't need," he added.

Consumer countries have been pushing Opec to pump more to replace supplies shut down in Libya and to prevent fuel inflation hurting economic growth.

"We don't want the price to rise because this will affect the consuming countries and it will have a bad impact on the producing countries in the medium and in the long term," Busairi said.

Meanwhile, newly-appointed Managing Director for Planning at Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), Abdul-Latif Al-Houti, has stated that downstream, midstream and upstream oil operations are strategic state sectors that cannot be privatised under Kuwait’s National Constitution without special measures.

Some within the country are keen to see the Kuwaiti state diversify and plan for the long-term by shedding some of it’s portfolio of hydrocarbons projects, but Al-Houti believes this will require enacting relevant laws through the Supreme Petroleum Council and parliament, as the sector falls within the definition of strategic activities.

Although Al-Houti believes hydrocarbon privatization is off-limits, he indicated that some sectors, such as gas stations, plants for production of salt, chlorine, calcined coal, iron, steel, ammonia and urea can be sold to private companies. In such sectors, the private sector can be useful.

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