Kuwait Rebuts Iraqi Charges Of Oil Theft
The official Kuwaiti news agency KUNA quoted Kuwaiti Oil Minister Sheikh Saud Nasser al-Sabah on September 18th as saying that the emirate would be happy to receive independent oil field experts to assess Kuwait’s oil drilling operations in an effort to disprove Iraqi claims on September 14th that Kuwait has been stealing Iraqi crude.
According to KUNA, “[Sheikh Saud] said Kuwait would welcome any neutral specialized side to come and examine the fields close to the Kuwait-Iraqi borders on both sides so that the falsity of the allegations by the Iraqi regime could be revealed.”
Baghdad said on September 14th that it would take unspecified measures against Kuwait to stop what it claims as the emirate’s theft of its oil, with Iraqi Oil Minister Amer Rasheed arguing that Kuwaiti drilling in a desert border zone was depleting Iraqi oil. The Iraqi press supported the government’s claim, with the state newspaper al-Jumhouriya reporting on September 17th that: “It has become public knowledge that Kuwait is stealing Iraqi oil from the Rumaila and Zubair oil fields in [southern] Basra.”
Kuwait immediately denied the Iraqi charges last week and the government sought to paint its neighbor as a real threat to the Gulf region in a statement on September 17th. The Kuwaiti government said that it took Iraq’s claims of oil theft as “intentions of enmity and continuous attempts to spread tension and instability in the region.”
The statement also said that: “[The Kuwaiti cabinet] calls on the international community to take serious steps towards the Iraqi regime’s threats and all necessary measures to guarantee Iraq will not repeat its threat to the security of Kuwait and neighboring states.” After warning Iraq on September 14th that Washington would take military action against Baghdad if it moved against its Gulf neighbors or the Kurds in northern Iraq, the U.S. said on September 18th that it was maintaining its flights over the northern Iraqi no-fly zone and that it had not detected any unusually high activity by Iraqi air defense units.
( oilnavigator )