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Kuwaiti officials say that two oilfields shared with Saudi Arabia in a massive 6,000-square-kilometer neutral zone could resume production within a year.
Speaking at a crude oil summit held in London, the head of research at Kuwait Petroleum Company Abdulaziz Al Attar said commented on an agreement to restart the fields, noting: "It is very difficult to say when, but it is in the process (of restarting)…We hear production will come back... a month, maybe a year, but we don't know exactly when."
The two oilfields—onshore Wafra and offshore Khafji—are in the Partitioned Neutral Zone, which lies between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The Wafra oilfield has a reported production capacity of 200,000 barrels a day, while Khafji has a 300,000 bpd production capacity.
Related: Kuwait Plans To Ramp Up Oil Production By 44% Before 2020
Wafra was shut down in May 2015, while the Khafji field has been shut down since October 2014.
The offshore Khafji field was shut down largely due to a disagreement over the renewal of operating licenses, which had sparked a standoff between the two OPEC members.
Late March, Kuwaiti officials signaled both sides’ willingness to recommence operations at both fields.
Related: OPEC Is Dead, What’s Next?
The early stages of this restart will involve “small quantities, which would be increased taking into consideration environmental concerns,” before returning to normal levels, officials said.
The freeze in production at the Khafji oil field didn’t impact the Saudi economy, but took a toll on oil revenues in Kuwait. Unlike Saudi Arabia whose production capacity stands at 12.5 million barrels a day, Kuwait’s 3-million-bpd capacity was significantly affected by the field’s shut down.
A three-day strike by oil sector workers last month saw production temporarily reduced to a mere 1.1 million barrels a day.
By James Burgess of Oilprice.com
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