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Chevron Plans Close to 1,000 Layoffs of Saudi Staff in Kuwait Oil Spat

DUBAI— Chevron Corp. CVX -1.82 % is planning to lay off up to 1,000 employees working in the neutral zone between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, as a dispute between those countries has halted all work on oil fields for several months, according to people familiar with the matter. Chevron has already significantly reduced the number of petroleum-development rigs in the neutral zone, a 2,230-square-mile oil-rich area that the countries jointly oversee. One of the people said the layoffs of Saudi Arabian staff had begun. “There is no point of keeping staff if the fields have been shut down for months,” the person said. A Chevron spokeswoman said she couldn’t “discuss specific details of our employees and contractors.” “Current difficulties in securing work permits and materials have impacted the company’s operations,” she said, forcing its local unit Saudi Arabian Chevron and Kuwait Gulf Oil Co. to stop onshore production in […]

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Tecnicas Among Companies to Build $16 Billion Al Zour Refinery

Daewoo Engineering & Construction Co., Tecnicas Reunidas SA and Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. are among companies that signed contracts today to build Kuwait’s $16 billion Al Zour oil refinery, which will more than double the nation’s processing capacity. The refinery, with a capacity of 615,000 barrels a day, will raise Kuwait total refining capacity to 1.4 million barrels a day when completed in July 2019, Mohammad Ghazi Al-Mutairi, chief executive officer of state-owned Kuwait National Petroleum Co., said at the signing ceremony in Kuwait City. Al Zour refinery, valued at 4.87 billion dinars ($16 billion) will be integrated with a planned petrochemical complex which KNPC will discuss at an upcoming board meeting, he said. “Al Zour refinery is one of the world’s largest grass root plants being built from conceptual stage,” Al-Mutairi said. “Al Zour refinery along with other ongoing mega projects will change the landscape of the oil […]

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Kuwait Says Oil Rout Heightens Need for Domestic Investments

OPEC member Kuwait said the global plunge in oil and financial markets heightens the need for the country to press ahead with investment spending and diversify revenue sources. Finance Minister Anas Al-Saleh briefed the cabinet on the market turmoil, the state-run Kuna news agency reported on Monday. Brent fell below $45 a barrel on Monday for the first time since 2009 on concerns a global supply glut may be worsening. The plunge in oil prices has sent stock markets in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, tumbling. Kuwait’s benchmark index dropped 1.6 percent on Monday to the lowest level since November 2012. The cabinet “stressed the need to implement” measures outlined by the Ministry of Finance to the parliament about diversifying sources of income, Kuna reported. Capital investment spending must also continue, it said. Kuwaiti officials are considering introducing corporate taxes for both local […]

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Kuwait uncovers ‘terror’ cell’s giant arms cache

Kuwait said the explosives were found in locations near the Iraqi border [interior ministry photo] Kuwaiti authorities say they have arrested three members of a "terrorist" cell and seized a huge arms cache they say was smuggled from Iraq and hidden beneath houses near the border. The Interior Ministry on Thursday said that the three Kuwaiti citizens have confessed to joining a group that was plotting to destabilise the country. Majority Sunni Muslim Kuwait has been on alert since a suicide bomber blew himself up at a Shia mosque in the capital, Kuwait city, in late June, killing 27 people. The bombing was claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group. A total of 19,000 kg of ammunition, 144 kg of explosives, 68 weapons, and 204 grenades were seized from three properties near the Iraqi border, the ministry said. The ministry said the explosives were […]

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Saudi, Kuwait to shut joint oilfield for two weeks: Kuwaiti source

DUBAI A jointly operated onshore oilfield between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will shut for two weeks of maintenance, a Kuwaiti industry source said on Monday, a move apparently aimed at giving the Gulf OPEC allies more time to solve a long-standing dispute. The scheduled closure of the Wafra onshore oilfield, operated by a Saudi Arabian division of U.S. oil major Chevron, will start on Monday night or Tuesday, the source told Reuters. The source declined to be named because of the commercial sensitivity of the matter. "It is planned maintenance starting from tonight or tomorrow," the source said, adding that production from the onshore fields in the Neutral Zone between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait was about 190,000 barrels per day. Last month, Saudi Chevron told its partner, Kuwait Gulf Oil Company, that it planned to shut down Wafra after failing to resolve various disputes with Kuwait, mainly related to […]

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Kuwait Seen Missing 2020 Oil-Production Target

Stymied by political opposition to foreign oil companies, Kuwait oil officials have privately acknowledged the country won’t meet a goal of boosting oil-production capacity 25% by 2020, people familiar with the matter said. The delay throws a spotlight on the fractious politics of a rare Middle Eastern country where an elected parliament holds real power, and the constitution bans foreign ownership of natural resources. It also could affect Kuwait’s effort to expand into Asian markets during the current period of relatively low oil prices—as well as its ability to profit should the price of crude rise again. Oil exports from aging fields make up 60% of the country’s gross domestic product. Kuwait has made it a national priority to ramp up production capacity to 4 million barrels a day—from the current 3.2 million—to help it reach new markets. That would bring it on par with regional rivals like Iran, […]

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Oil-rich Kuwait gets power back on after widespread blackout

KUWAIT CITY (AP) — A country known for its vast energy wealth just couldn’t keep the lights on – at least for a short while. A sweeping blackout that struck the tiny but oil-rich Kuwait on Wednesday evening knocked out lights even at the international airport, brought out the amateur comedians on social media and got lawmakers Thursday asking why so much of the OPEC nation suddenly went dark. The power cut happened when a technical fault struck a transmission line linked to the al-Subbyia power station, according to Minister of Public Works, Electricity and Water Abdulaziz al-Ibrahim whose remarks were carried by the official Kuwait News Agency. Residents in the car-loving country reported unusually thick traffic jams caused by darkened traffic lights. Emergency measures used to bring power back online following the outage included the use of an electrical link to the rest of the six-member Gulf Cooperation […]

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Chevron Unit Said to Cut Output From Saudi-Kuwaiti Oil Fields

Oil workers on a Chevron drilling platform near the Saudi Arabian border in Kuwait. Saudi Arabia, the largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, and Kuwait, the group’s third-biggest member, will join other OPEC states to assess market conditions and production levels at a June 5 meeting in Vienna. Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images (Bloomberg) — Crude production dropped 20 percent since October at a venture that a Chevron Corp. unit operates in the Wafra fields, which Kuwait is developing with Saudi Arabia, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter. Daily output dropped to 180,000 barrels from about 200,000 barrels last month and 225,000 barrels in October, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter isn’t public. Two rigs are halted and more may be idled in the coming months because Saudi Arabian Chevron Inc. faces problems operating wells due to […]

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Iran President Says Oil-Price Drop to Hurt Saudi Arabia, Kuwait

Oil’s price slump may hurt Saudi Arabia and Kuwait more than Iran, which depends less on crude exports than the other two nations, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said. Countries responsible for the drop in oil prices will “regret it,” Rouhani said in an address in Bushehr province, without identifying them. “If Iran suffers from declining oil prices, know that other oil-producing countries such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia will suffer more than Iran,” Rouhani said. Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude exporter, and neighboring Kuwait opposed Iran’s unsuccessful effort to persuade the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to cut output at their Nov. 27 meeting. Iran ’s crude exports have been curbed by international sanctions imposed because of the country’s nuclear program. It produced 2.77 million barrels a day of oil in December, down from an average of 3.58 million in 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Oil […]

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Age of Plenty Seen Over for Gulf Arabs as Oil Tumbles

The boom that adorned Gulf Arab monarchies with glittering towers, swelled their sovereign funds and kept unrest largely at bay may be over after oil prices dropped by almost 50 percent in the last six months. The sheikhdoms have used the oil wealth to remake their region. Landmarks include man-made islands on reclaimed land, as well as financial centers, airports and ports that turned the Arabian desert into a banking and travel hub. The money was also deployed to ward off social unrest that spread through the Middle East during the Arab Spring. “The region has had 10 years of abundance,” said Simon Williams , HSBC Holdings Plc’s chief economist for central and eastern Europe , the Middle East and North Africa. “But that decade of plenty is done. The drop in oil prices will hurt performance in the near term, even if the Gulf’s buffers are powerful enough […]

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Kuwait Planning $7 Billion Heavy-Oil Project Amid Cheaper Crude

Kuwait , the third-largest producer in OPEC, plans to spend about $7 billion to develop heavy-oil fields even with crude prices near five-year lows. The first phase of the Lower Fars heavy-oil project will cost $4.2 billion, with contracts to be awarded by the end of this year, Hashem Hashem, chief executive officer of state-owned Kuwait Oil Co., said today at a conference in Kuwait City. KOC, which plans to drill 900 wells and pump 60,000 barrels a day by 2018 in the project’s first phase, targets output of 180,000 barrels a day by 2025 and 270,000 by 2030, Hashem said. Production from Lower Fars and the Ratqa field “will open the door for development of other heavy oil fields in Kuwait,” he said. Brent crude , a pricing benchmark for more than half of the world’s oil, has tumbled 41 percent from its June 19 peak this year […]

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Kuwait Said to Deny Permits to Saudi Chevron Staff at Oil Fields

Kuwait stopped issuing work permits for Saudi Arabian Chevron Inc. employees at oil fields the Persian Gulf nations are developing jointly, according to three people with direct knowledge of the matter. Saudi Chevron, a subsidiary of Chevron Corp. (CVX) , can’t issue or renew work permits for employees at the Wafra oil fields because Kuwait’s ministry of labor and social affairs halted services to the company, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter isn’t public. A number of Saudi Chevron staff, including U.S. citizens, left Kuwait after their permits expired, and other foreign employees are expected to follow them, two of the people said. The Kuwaiti measures will hurt output at the Wafra oil fields located in a shared neutral zone along Saudi Arabia’s border with Kuwait, according to a letter of objection that Saudi Chevron sent to the Kuwaiti government, a copy of […]

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Kuwait Joins Saudi View of No Immediate OPEC Supply Cuts

Two of OPEC’s biggest members say they won’t immediately reduce oil production to offset tumbling prices, a signal the group is unlikely to heed Venezuelan calls for an emergency meeting. While producing nations would like higher prices, there’s “no room” for them to achieve that by lowering supply, Kuwait ’s oil minister told the official Kuwait News Agency yesterday. Saudi Arabia, which pumped almost one-third of the group’s output last month, won’t alter its supplies much between now and the end of the year, a person familiar with its policy said Oct. 3. “Saudi action is what matters most and we have yet to see anything,” Katherine Spector, a commodities strategist at CIBC World Markets Inc. in New York , said yesterday by phone. “There’s not a lot the Venezuelans can do, either by action or rhetoric, that will change things.” OPEC’s largest Persian Gulf producers, including Saudi Arabia, […]

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Kuwait Boosts Oil Output Despite Falling Prices

KUWAIT CITY—Kuwait is boosting its crude output this month despite falling prices, people familiar with the matter said Thursday. Oil prices have declined sharply over the summer, even falling below $100 a barrel this week. But members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries have been split in their response to the price drop. While Saudi Arabia cut its production by 400,000 barrels a day in August, others are boosting their oil flows. Kuwait has increased its production to 2.9 million barrels a day this month, up 100,000 barrels a day from August, the people familiar with the matter said. It could rise to 3 million barrels a day next month, one person said. The output hike is to supply a 10-year deal signed last month by Kuwait with Sinopec Corp. The contract will nearly double Kuwait’s supplies to the Chinese oil giant to 300,000 barrels a day. […]

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Five Kuwait politicians’ citizenship revoked

Kuwait has stripped five well-known opposition figures of their citizenship, including the owner of a newspaper and television station. The official Kuwait News Agency announced the decision by Kuwait’s cabinet on Monday, which approved a draft decree to revoke the citizenship of the five. Among those named in the decision is Abdullah al-Barghash, a former Islamist opposition legislator, and three other members of his family. The government also revoked the nationality of Ahmad al-Shemmeri, owner of the independent Al-Youm television station and Alam Al-Yawm newspaper. His newspaper was ordered temporarily shut down twice this year by a court for defying a prosecutor-ordered media blackout about an investigation into a coup plot to overthrow the Gulf monarchy’s government. The state news agency account did not give a reason for the cabinet’s decision.

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Five Kuwait politicians' citizenship revoked

Kuwait has stripped five well-known opposition figures of their citizenship, including the owner of a newspaper and television station. The official Kuwait News Agency announced the decision by Kuwait’s cabinet on Monday, which approved a draft decree to revoke the citizenship of the five. Among those named in the decision is Abdullah al-Barghash, a former Islamist opposition legislator, and three other members of his family. The government also revoked the nationality of Ahmad al-Shemmeri, owner of the independent Al-Youm television station and Alam Al-Yawm newspaper. His newspaper was ordered temporarily shut down twice this year by a court for defying a prosecutor-ordered media blackout about an investigation into a coup plot to overthrow the Gulf monarchy’s government. The state news agency account did not give a reason for the cabinet’s decision.

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Saudis to Expand Offshore Oil Field without Kuwait

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia will go it alone in boosting the capacity of an offshore oil field in its shared neutral zone with Kuwait after the neighboring Persian Gulf state withdrew from the project due to political deadlock between parliament and the government, two people familiar with the matter said. Kuwait had initially told Khafji Joint Operations, the joint venture that oversees and develops the operations at the neutral zone, that it would participate in the Khafji offshore project, but later pulled out due to political troubles in the country, the people said. "Kuwait has several problems between its parliament and the government that are causing delays in several projects including Khafji, which is not a top priority for the government at the moment," said one person familiar with the matter. "No official wanted to make a decision on sharing the costs of the project and get questioned […]

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