Kuwaiti MPs called Saturday for an emergency debate on allowing international oil companies (IOCs) access to specialised data on a seven-billion-dollar project to develop northern oilfields.
Twenty-nine MPs signed a request and charged that by sending the Initial Protocol Process (IPP) to IOCs and opening data rooms, the government intended to sign agreements with the majors even without parliament's approval.
"This step is a clear practical indication of the government's intention to act unilaterally and sign agreements with IOCs, at a time when parliament is still debating legislation on the issue," it said.
State-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corp. (KPC) sent an IPP on January 3 to pre-qualified IOCs despite opposition from parliament.
KPC managing director Nader Sultan said last month that data rooms containing specialised information on the oilfields would be opened on February 5 after the IOCs signed "confidentiality papers."
The request for a debate will be listed on parliament's next session Monday, but it is unlikely to be discussed soon because of the cabinet's resignation.
An oil official told AFP on Saturday that the KPC still planned to open the data rooms despite the intervention of MPs.
Although the list of IOCs has not been officially announced, it is widely believed that KPC has pre-qualified BP Amoco, Chevron, Conoco, ENI, Exxon Mobil, Phillips, Shell, Texaco and TotalFinaElf as operators for the project.
Legislation on the "Kuwait Project", submitted by the government to parliament last April, rules out any foreign ownership of the emirate's natural resources.
Kuwait, whose OPEC quota from February 1 dropped to 2.021 million barrels per day (bpd), aims to double production capacity of its northern oilfields to 900,000 bpd by 2005, and insists that this can only be achieved through foreign assistance.
In Kuwait, a Gulf state which holds around 10 percent of global oil reserves, the majors have previously been restricted to technical service agreements.—AFP.
©--Agence France Presse 2001.
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )