(AFP, KUWAIT CITY) - Kuwait on Tuesday assured its top customer Pakistan of normal supplies of refined oil products despite a blast last month that shut down the emirate's main refinery.
Pakistan's Minister of Petroleum and National Resources Usman Aminuddin said that his country would be accorded a most favoured nation status in receiving oil from Kuwait.
Kuwait's "oil minister has assured me that Pakistan is on the most favoured nations' list and will be given priority in receiving our requirements," Aminuddin told reporters after talks with his counterpart, Sheikh Saud Nasser al-Sabah.
Pakistan imports 4.25 million tones of gas oil and 1.25 million tones of fuel oil annually from Kuwait, representing 75 and 25 percent respectively of its needs, the minister said.
A huge explosion on June 25 devastated Kuwait's largest refinery at Al-Ahmadi, killing six people and wounding 50 others, and caused it to shut down.
The refinery can produce up to 450,000 barrels per day, half of the emirate's capacity. About 40 percent of Kuwait's oil exports are in the form of refined products, three quarters of which is shipped to Asia, mainly Pakistan and India.
Aminuddin also invited Kuwaiti investors to take part in an ambitious privatisation drive underway in Pakistan which is aimed "at selling all state entities".
"We specifically offered Kuwaiti investors to participate in two infrastructure projects for gas and oil pipelines. We need some 600 to 700 million dollars to build the networks soon," he said.
The projects aim to carry refined products from northern to southern Pakistan.
Pakistan's petroleum imports, which constitute the single largest burden on the country's foreign exchange resources, totalled more than two billion dollars during the current fiscal year to June 30.
© Agence France-Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )