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Major Oil Nation Reshuffles Government Ahead Of OPEC Meeting

The government of Kuwait, OPEC’s fourth-largest producer, resigned on Thursday after a no-confidence vote against one minister, while the fate of the oil ministry’s portfolio remains unclear.

Kuwait’s Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al Mubarak Al Sabah has tendered his resignation to the country’s ruling emir of the Al Sabah family, who has final say in state matters, state news agency Kuna reported today.  

It was not immediately clear if Kuwait’s Oil Minister Khaled Al-Fadhel would keep his post in a new government, according to S&P Global Platts.

Al-Fadhel himself was appointed just 11 months ago, in December 2018, in a previous government reshuffle in which four ministers, including the oil minister, were replaced.

Kuwait’s oil policy is typically dictated by the Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC), which also oversees the oil sector in the OPEC member state. The Ministry of Petroleum supervises the implementation of the policy in the upstream and downstream sectors.   

Government resignations and reshuffles occur frequently in Kuwait, which is considered to be the most politically open country among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations, which also include Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Kuwait has an active parliament, and members of parliament can pass legislation and question ministers about their work.

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It was the parliament that had brought down the current government. Jenan Ramadan, the minister of public works, also resigned earlier this month following a round of questioning for failure to address infrastructure damaged by floods last year.

Kuwait is the fourth largest OPEC producer behind Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and ahead of Iran, whose production has fallen below that of the UAE and Kuwait after the U.S. sanctions against Tehran kicked in. In October, Kuwait pumped 2.674 million barrels per day, according to OPEC’s newly released Monthly Oil Market Report.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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