Kuwait to supply Iraq with oil products for winter

Nov 21, 2003 01:00 AM

Oil-rich Kuwait has agreed in principle to supply Iraq with oil products to meet winter shortages as well as allow Baghdad to use its terminals to export oil, an official said. The emirate also gave a provisional nod to buy natural gas from its former occupier in return for billions of dollars of debt and agreed to assist in rebuilding the Iraqi oil sector, said Issam Jehad, an advisor to Iraqi Oil Minister Ibrahim Bahr al-Ulum. The agreements were the result of three days of talks here between Ulum and his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Ahmad Fahd al-Sabah.
"Talks have been very successful. Kuwait said it is prepared to provide all forms of assistance to help in the recovery of the Iraqi oil sector," Jehad told.

The two sides agreed to form a high-level cooperation committee headed by the two ministers. A number of sub-committees have also been formed. A technical committee will meet immediately after Eid Al-Fitr, the Muslim feast that follows the fasting month of Ramadan, to study details of all the issues taken up during the ministers' talks, he said. Kuwait will supply Iraq with kerosene, petrol and gasoline to meet winter shortages, but the exact quantities will be determined by the technical committee, Jehad said.
"We have an almost 40 % shortage in oil products and Kuwait agreed to provide whatever supplies it can," he said.

The two ministers also discussed establishing joint companies to invest in the rehabilitation of the Iraqi oil sector expected to require some $ 50 bn over the next decade. Kuwait has also agreed to provide technical training for Iraqis in the oil sector, Jehad said.
"Sheikh Ahmad has instructed officials in the ministry to swiftly study all Iraqi requests and immediately provide all necessary facilities," he said.

Ulum arrived in Kuwait on his first official visit to the emirate. He has already visited OPEC members Saudi Arabia and Qatar and was due to leave Kuwait later for Iran. He revealed a long-term plan to boost Iraqi oil production to 5 mm bpd by 2010 which requires assistance from neighbours and foreign oil majors.
But the short term plan, to be carried out by Iraqi expertise, is to return to pre-1990 production level of more than 3 mm bpd. Iraqi output increased 150,000 bpd during October to 1.55 mm bpd, but that was a slowdown in the speed of growth after increases of 350,000 bpd in both September and August.

Source: AFP
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