Japan didn't receive a request from Kuwait seeking better conditions in return for the renewal of Tokyo-based Arabian Oil Co.'s (J.ARA or 1603) oil drilling rights on the Kuwaiti portion of the Neutral Zone, an official at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Monday.
According to a report by Dow Jones published on Yahoo Finance, the comment came in response to an Arabic newspaper report Saturday that the Kuwaiti government has already informed METI that it would be asking for "better conditions" in return for the renewal.
The Al-Anba daily, which quoted Kuwait oil undersecretary Isa al-Aoun, didn't specify the new conditions the Kuwaiti government is seeking.
"There has been no such request," the METI official said, denying the report.
Arabian Oil, or AOC, is in preliminary talks with Kuwait for the renewal of concession rights that run until January 2003. AOC submitted an operation plan to Kuwait on Feb. 20, aiming for an early start to formal negotiations.
"It's favorable that AOC renews the concession...Of course, the government is willing to offer support," the official said.
The Japanese oil producer lost its 40-year-old concession in the Saudi part of the Neutral Zone in February last year after lengthy negotiations that involved the governments of both countries. The talks failed after Japan rejected a Saudi condition for renewing the concession, which was for Japan to fund, build and operate a $2 billion railway project in the kingdom.
In a related development, the Kuwaiti government has decided to set up an oil data room in parliament ahead of an expected heated debate on Wednesday of a controversial government plan to allow major international oil companies to operate domestic oil fields, according to press reports.
The oil sector in the Gulf emirate has been nationalized since 1980 – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )