Kuwait oil capacity steady at 3.1-3.2 mln bpd-KPC
Friday, 24 February 2012 | 11:00
Kuwait's crude oil production capacity stands at around 3.1-3.2 million barrels per day (bpd) and there are no short-term plans to raise it, the chief of state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC) told Reuters.
Tension over Iran's nuclear programme has led the West to try to stem the Islamic Republic's oil exports and some Gulf OPEC producers, including Kuwait, have said they are ready to meet any increase in demand for oil.
But so far there have been no extra orders for oil from European buyers, KPC chief Farouk al-Zanki said, adding that there are no plans to increase capacity this year.
"Kuwait's current production is around 3 million bpd and this reflects the demand in the market, our capacity is in the 3.1-3.2 range," he said.
"We have a long term plan to reach 4 million bpd by 2020, and for the time being we are producing very near to the capacity limit," Zanki said.
To reach the current production level of around 3 million bpd, Zanki said Kuwait had increased output over the past six months at nearly all of its fields - including the Neutral Zone which it shares with Saudi Arabia.
He declined to give details of production of the Neutral Zone but industry sources said output from the area is close to 600,000 bpd, up from around 550,000.
Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have put on hold plans to further boost capacity from their shared oil area by 700,000-900,000 bpd by 2030.
But Kuwaiti oil analyst Kamel Al Harami said they may need to unfreeze the expansion plans to meet strong demand for fuel.
"The problem with the Neutral Zone is that its all heavy crude and requires a lot of investment, I would say $14-$15 per barrel (for the cost of extracting it)," said Al Harami.
"But, given the current situation with demand, I think Saudi will invest in increasing production from the area."
Among the projects to raise capacity in the Neutral Zone is to use steam injection to boost heavy oil output from the al-Wafra field in partnership with U.S oil major Chevron.
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