Kuwait Oil Co Says No Upstream Projects Canceled

ABU DHABI (Zawya Dow Jones), Jun. 2, 2009

State-owned Kuwait Oil Co. has not canceled or postponed any upstream projects, and will invest as much as $6 billion in 2009 on exploration and production activities, the company's chairman said Monday.

"I want to emphasize that we have not slowed down our strategic investments," said Sami Al Rushaid, who is also KOC's Managing Director, at an oil companies conference.

KOC will spend more than $6 billion on exploration and production capacity this year as part of Kuwait's plans "to produce 4 million barrels per day by 2020 and 1 billion cubic feet a day of gas by 2015," Al Rushaid said.

Crude production capacity in Kuwait, holder of the world's fourth largest oil reserves, presently stands at 3 million barrels a day, Al Rushaid said.

"Kuwait still plans to produce 4 million barrels per day by 2020, it still remains 2020 and the 4 million capacity will be ongoing from 2020 to 2030," he said.

KOC is also moving ahead with plans to develop the Lower Fares heavy oil field as part of its E&P plans. "However, it is not a high priority at the moment when we are seeing softening demand ... we are developing it slowly but surely," Al Rushaid said.

Referring to the stalled Al Zour refinery project, Al Rushaid said: "The tender or contract has been canceled and it will be re-tendered."

The $8.3 billion refinery project to be implemented by another state-run company, Kuwait National Petroleum Co., or KNPC, was canceled after it came under intense scrutiny last year after opposition members of parliament alleged that contracts awarded by KNPC didn't comply with the tender procedures set out by Kuwait's Central Tenders Committee, which handles all public sector contracts.

"That was due to procedural difference, that procedures were not followed properly. We think that project, hopefully with the new government, will be pursued again," Al Rushaid said.  

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