Kuwait To Close Northern Oilfields in Event of War

Board Chairman and Managing Director of Kuwait Oil Company Ahmad Rashid Al-Arbeed said that all northern oil fields would be shut down in the event of war on Iraq so as not to jeopardize the safety of staff in those fields.

According to a report by Kuwait News Agency, Al-Arbeed said that Al-Abdeli and Al-Regga oil fields have been closed down due to proximity to the borders with Iraq. Al-Rawdhatein and Al-Sabriyya fields compensated for the closure and the northern oil fields' capacity of 400,000 barrels/day has been maintained, he added, as is the state's overall production capacity of 2.1 million barrels/day.

Regarding closure of the western production area, where the 300,000 barrels/day capacity Manaqeesh oil field is situated, Al-Arbeed said there would be closure if circumstances make it prudent pointing out that the security precautions are the same in the northern area and elsewhere in Kuwait.

He remarked there is Acceleration in maintenance programs in the southern and western oil fields to secure the current and expected production requirements in case of total closure of northern oil fields. KOC's policy, he said, is to increase production in the western and southern oil fields to maintain the same level of production.

Al-Arbeed also said that reservoir studies indicate that the hiked production would not harm the oil reservoirs because production would still not reach the maximum damage-free levels.

As to the contingency plan, Al-Arbeed said the plan's main item is ensuring the safety of all KOC workers and the company, accordingly, has begun reducing staff in the northern area where there is considerable military presence. He said that if there is war, the whole area would be shut down to maintain the safety of the workers. In the event of oilfield fires, KOC has reactivated the Kuwaiti Fire Fighters Team and it is training and preparing lists of equipment and gear that would be needed in case of emergency. The team is back in action and on alert as of this week, he said. The company would also seek help and counsel of foreign experts and companies, he added, and two international companies specialized in putting out oil field fires had already been contracted that would be called in if necessary.