KUWAIT: Head of the National Assembly’s budgets committee MP Adnan Abdulsamad yesterday quoted Oil Minister Khaled Al-Fadhel as saying there are initiatives to resume production in the neutral zone between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait after more than four years of stoppage. Abdulsamad made the remarks following a meeting by the committee attended by the oil minister to discuss various issues related to the oil sector.

During the meeting, the minister informed the committee of “initiatives to resume production in the divided zone based on various meetings and discussions between the Kuwaiti and Saudi sides in the wake of prevailing regional developments”, Abdulsamad said. Production at the Khafji offshore oilfield was halted by the Saudi side in Oct 2014 for environmental considerations and output at the second oilfield at Wafra was stopped a few months later.

Abdulsamad said direct losses for Kuwait from the stoppage amounted to KD 3.8 billion until the end of July 2017, adding that there are some indirect losses including delays in some strategic projects. This would mean that Kuwaiti losses from the closure of the two oilfields – which pumped some 500,000 barrels per day – will be almost double that figure. The lawmaker also said that part of Kuwaiti losses is the continuation of crude oil migration from the Khafji oilfield to the nearby Safaniya oilfield, which belongs to Saudi Arabia, as a result of not undertaking some projects. Abdulsamad also said that despite the stoppage in production, operational costs of the Kuwait Oil Gulf Company which operates the Kuwaiti side have increased to KD 339 million.

Meanwhile, National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem said yesterday that the current Assembly term will come to close on July 2 and that sessions will be held next week to debate budgets. Ghanem said the Assembly office decided to hold sessions on June 25 and 26 to debate the remaining budgets and will meet again in July to discuss the state budget and the state’s fiscal status, and then hold the closing session. Ghanem also said the Assembly may hold special sessions to discuss specific issues based on the decision of lawmakers.

By B Izzak