The total production from the two oilfields that Saudi Arabia and Kuwait share would reach 550,000 bpd by the end of the year, Kuwait’s Oil Minister Khaled al-Fadhel said on Sunday, announcing the start of trial production at the two fields.
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait share the two oilfields Khafji and Wafra that have not been pumping oil for five years due to disputes over concessions.
Trial production at the Khafji and Wafra began on Sunday, as previously anticipated. Oil production rates will be gradually increased until they reach “the normal level,” state Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) quoted minister al-Fadhel as saying. The regular levels of production of nearly 550,000 bpd will be restored by the end of the year, al-Fadhel noted.
At the end of 2019, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait reached an agreement to resume oil production from the two oilfields they share in the Neutral Zone.
The so-called Partitioned Neutral Zone (PNZ) was established between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in 1922 to settle a territorial dispute between the two neighboring countries. As of 2015, the oil production capacity in the neutral zone stood at a total of 600,000 bpd, equally divided between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Production from the zone averaged around 500,000 bpd just before the shutdown of the two oil fields, Khafji and Wafra, in 2014-2015.
Operational differences and a worsening in bilateral relations led to the suspension of production back in 2015. The worsening came as Saudi Arabia renewed Chevron’s concession for Wafra. According to the Kuwaiti side, Riyadh did that without consulting it.
Last month, Kuwait said that it expects its share of the oil production from the Neutral Zone to be 250,000 bpd by the end of 2020.
Earlier this month, sources from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia told Oilprice that trial production of 10,000 bpd would begin at the Khafji field on or around February 25.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews. More