Kuwait Oil Policy Uncertain due to the Unknown New Cabinet
Kuwait Oil Policy is very uncertain due to the unknown of the new cabinet and oil minister, a new Cabinet is expected to be named by Kuwaiti Emir Sheik Jaber Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah next week, and it's expected that Crown Prince Sheik Saad Al-Abdullah Al Sabah will be reappointed to form a new government, Kuwait press reports said that Kuwaiti Oil Minister isn't being considered to retain his portfolio in a new Cabinet.
Anoythers sources said that that Kuwaiti Oil Minister Sheikh Saud Nasser al-Sabah has asked not to be kept on in the formation of a new Kuwaiti cabinet.
"If it turns out to be true, it might send the wrong signal to the market and hurt the credibility of the upstream oil initiative," said one source according to Dow Jones.
Sheikh Saud had reportedly been upset by the concessions granted to Sheik Sabah to lure him back into the cabinet and sources say he had cited internal disputes as his reason for leaving the government.
Others sources specualted of the on going divisions within the ruling family that apparently sparked Sheikh Saud’s decision to not participate in the new government.
According to one insider quoted by Oil Navigator “There’s too much going on in the family and I think Sheikh Saud was both angry and frustrated with the direction that the appointments [of the new cabinet] were going,”
But the true is that everybody is waiting for the developments.
Sheik Saud is been a very strong proponent of upstream opening. Saud, Kuwait's sixth oil minister since 1991, and has been a key proponent of the government's 1999 initiative inviting foreign investors into Kuwait's upstream oil sector.
Acoording to a report from Down Jones the main project waiting to start is the $7 billion Project Kuwait,that proposes enhancing production at five northern oil fields - Rawdatain, Sabrya, Ratga, Abdali and Bahra - to around 900,000 barrels a day from the current 450,000 b/d within a 5-10 year period. This would take the country's total production capacity to 3 million b/d from about 2.2 million b/d now.
The shortlisted companies include ExxonMobil, Chevron, Texaco, Royal Dutch/Shell, BP, Conoco, TotalFinaElf and Lasmo.
Oil Navigator reported that one Western oil firm that has been short listed in the Project Kuwait opening process was shock by the news of Sheikh Sabah’s resignation on February 8th. "It’s a shocker … I’m stunned, "he tells Oil Navigator".
"the clout that Sheikh Saud had will be hard to duplicate by anybody that is not an al-Sabah,” the source stresses.
Kuwait, one of the world's richest nations, is an OPEC member with a production quota of about 2 million barrels a day.
By Elio Ohep
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)