Kuwaiti MPs repeated their calls Wednesday for the government to halt steps it has taken to bring in foreign oil majors to develop fields in the north of the emirate, claiming it violated the constitution.
The calls came during a special parliamentary session held to discuss several constitutional and legal objections against the seven-billion-dollar project which aims to double the production capacity of the fields to 900,000 barrels a day by 2005.
Veteran MP and former speaker Ahmad al-Saadun led the offensive against the government, saying "all procedures that have started must stop immediately. And no agreement should be signed without a bill" approved by parliament.
"I am increasingly afraid for Kuwait because up until now we have had no details about the project. This concerns the future of Kuwait and its people," Saadun warned.
But newly-appointed Oil Minister Adel al-Sebeih reiterated government promises that the Kuwait Project would "neither comprise Kuwait's sovereignty nor concede control over its resources."
He said the government would comply with "any settlement reached with parliament regarding the most appropriate legal terms" for the proposed contracts.
Sebeih said the government was prepared to sit with the concerned parliamentary panels to "re-draft" a bill to regulate the operation of oil majors in the emirate.
Parliament's legal committee said on February 12 that the draft bill was "unconstitutional because it violated several articles of the constitution."
State-owned conglomerate KPC has prequalified 26 foreign firms and sent out an Initial Process Protocol (IPP) to them on January 3. On February 5, it opened the data room for specialized information on the project.
BP Amoco, Chevron, Conoco, ENI, Exxon Mobil, Phillips, Shell, Texaco and TotalFinaElf were prequalified as operators for the project.The debate will resume on March 14.—AFP.
©--Agence France Presse 2001.
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )