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MP demands debate on oil minister’s statements

KUWAIT: MP Ahmad Al-Qhudhaibi said yesterday that he will demand a special debate on controversial statements by Oil Minister Ali Al-Omair that unidentified rich contractors were trying to control the vital oil sector. The lawmaker also called on the Council of Ministers to hold a special meeting to discuss what he called the serious statements by the oil minister made over two weeks ago. He said he has sent a series of questions to the minister about the statement and has until now received no answers and accordingly he plans to demand a special debate in the assembly’s next session tomorrow.

Qhudhaibi said that on May 29, Omair was quoted as saying that since he was appointed minister less than two years ago, “his foes and owners of multibillion- dollar contracts have started shivering”. He said that the minister knew the people he meant in his statements but he did not name them although he sits at the helm of the ministry. The lawmaker said that the minister’s statements also mean that some people got mega contracts through illegal methods and he is obliged to uncover their identity.

venture In a related development, MP Faisal Al-Kundari warned yesterday of a new catastrophe in the oil sector similar to the so-called K-Dow venture for which Kuwait had to pay a penalty of $2.2 billion after unilaterally scrapping a multibillion- dollar deal with US firm Dow Chemical.

The lawmaker said that Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) faces a threat of paying a penalty of around KD 1 billion to a number of contracting companies for small faults committed by KOC. He said he has sent a series of questions to the minister based on certain newspaper reports which said that a number of contractors have demanded compensation worth KD 1 billion from KPC. Kundari said that the aim of the questions to the minister is to caution him against an impending problem and to allow the Kuwaiti people the opportunity to know what is happening in the vital oil sector. Separately, Shiite MP Abdulhameed Dashti yesterday called on HH the Prime Minister and the oil minister to take a decision to start oil production from the Khafji and Wafra oilfields in the neutral zone with Saudi Arabia. Production at Khafji was stopped in October and in Wafra in May.

The halt in production in these two oilfields means that Kuwait loses an output of around 250,000 barrels per day which is crucial and hard to compensate under the current circumstances, Dashti added. Production from the neutral zone was being managed by the Kuwaiti and Saudi sides and was being shared equally over the past half century. Dashti said that Saudi Arabia found that halting production served its interests and Kuwait should see that resuming production serves its own interests.

The lawmaker called on the council of ministers to hold a special meeting to discuss the issue especially that the agenda of the national assembly is full. Meanwhile, MP Mansour Al-Dhafiri called on the commerce ministry to boost its monitoring of the markets to prevent any artificial rises of commodity prices ahead of the holy fasting month of Ramadan expected to start on Thursday.

By B Izzak

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This article was published on 14/06/2015