Kuwait Extends Deadline

Kuwait has extended its deadline for three international oil consortiums to submit initial development plans for increase production from its northern fields. The original deadline was set for Monday, September 1st. Kuwait Petroleum Corporation said that the extension was granted to allow it to finish evaluating the consortia formed and approve them. The new deadline has not been announced.

ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco and BP lead the three consortia that are interested in the northern fields. The companies have bid for the right to manage and upgrade the fields. The exact date of the launch of tenders has not been announced.

The ambitious multi-billion-dollar plan to include international contractors has been under discussion for years, but has met with opposition from some influential members of Kuwait's parliament who want to keep development a domestic affair.

KPC said it has not begun any initial negotiations with any of the consortia yet. KPC will first of all study the development plans to be received, and then the government's economic model and the operating service agreements which will be presented to these consortia, will be finalized. The contract likely will run for about 20 years with an estimated value of about $2 billion, industry sources say.

The winning consortium will be involved in raising output from the northern fields to about 900,000 barrels a day from around 450,000 bpd at present.