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20 October 2019
ECONOMY

Kuwait expects to sign neutral zone oil pact with Saudi Arabia

The neutral zone, which has been closed for at least four years, can produce as much as 500,000 barrels a day.

Kuwait/Bloomberg


Kuwait expects to sign an agreement with Saudi Arabia to restart oil production from the neutral zone along their border within 30 to 45 days, reported Bloomberg.

The pact, reached after months of intensive negotiations, will not be final until it’s signed. Khafji, one of two fields in the zone, is projected to start production immediately after the signing of the pact, while the Wafra field will need three to six months.

However, the area may not add much oil to global markets in the near term because the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has extended production cuts into early 2020.

Khalid al-Jarallah, Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister, said that the talks with Saudi Arabia continue and are very positive, adding that when an agreement is reached, the countries will start talks on resuming production.

The neutral zone has not produced anything since the fields were shut after spats between the two countries in 2014 and 2015. The barren strip of desert straddling the Saudi-Kuwaiti border can pump about as much as OPEC member Ecuador.

The disagreement between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait started over the Wafra field, which is operated by Chevron Corporation. Saudi Arabia extended the original 60-year-old concession of the field, giving the US company rights over Wafra until 2039. Kuwait was furious over the announcement and claims the Kingdom never consulted it about the extension.


RELATED STORIES: Khafji Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries Wafra Chevron Corporation


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