Iraq seeks to export oil through Kuwaiti ports

Nov 19, 2003 01:00 AM

Iraqi and Kuwaiti oil ministers discuss possibility of Iraq exporting its oil through Kuwaiti ports on the Gulf. Iraqi Oil Minister Ibrahim Bahr al-Ulum discussed overnight with his Kuwaiti counterpart the possibility of exporting oil through the emirate's terminals, a senior official said.
"They discussed the possibility of Iraq exporting its oil through Kuwaiti ports on the Gulf," said Assem Jehad, an advisor to the Iraqi minister. "Kuwaiti oil terminals will have the largest share of Iraqi oil exports. Iraq at this stage looks to expand its options of oil export terminals," especially after attacks on its northern pipeline, Jehad said.

Ulum arrived in Kuwait on his first official visit to the emirate for talks with Kuwait Energy Minister Sheikh Ahmad Fahd al-Sabah.
"The minister informed his Kuwaiti counterpart that Iraq is interested in expanding its oil cooperation with Kuwait and is certain the emirate will back Iraqi efforts in shaping the future of its oil sector," Jehad added. Ulum also said that "Iraq is prepared to supply Kuwait with natural gas in exchange for debts owed to Kuwaiti," estimated at billions of dollars, he added. The two ministers also discussed "the possibility of Kuwaiti companies investing in the Iraqi oil sector and participating in infrastructure rehabilitation projects," Jehad said.

Ulum has already visited OPEC members Saudi Arabia and Qatar and is due to travel to Iran. He was also expected to visit the United Arab Emirates and Oman at a later stage. The minister 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. Ulum said that oil contracts signed by the regime ofSaddam Hussein "especially under economic embargo will be reconsidered," in reference to a multi-billion contract signed with Russian oil companies.
"Contracts signed under the former regime will be reconsidered with regard to their legal status, competitiveness and the interests of the Iraqi people," he said.

The minister said on arrival in Kuwait that the issue of reopening an oil pipeline running from Iraq to Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coast was not discussed during talks with Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi.
Saudi officials reported in mid-October that the pipeline is in no condition to be used and suggested that the kingdom would not entertain the idea of exporting Iraqi crude through it.

Source: MEES
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