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Kuwait’s Newly Appointed Oil Minister Shows Optimism for Growing Demand

Kuwait’s Newly Appointed Oil Minister Shows Optimism for Growing Demand

Friday, 15 December, 2017 - 13:15
Kuwait's Minister of Oil and Electricity Bakheet Al-Rashidi , Asharq Al-Awsat

The Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) reception was packed with dozens of well-wishers on Thursday who came to congratulate Kuwait's new Minister of Oil and Electricity Bakheet Al-Rashidi on his appointment.

Even those who have long left Kuwait's oil sector, such as former head of the Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), Sami al-Rashid, former KPC head Kamel al-Harami, and many others came to congratulate Rashidi on his new job.

In his first encounter with the media, Rashidi spoke fluently and with confidence, relaying his immense knowledge and familiarity with everything related to the sector and OPEC.

With regard to OPEC, Rashidi explained that the group’s current production-cut policy has proven successful, contributed to supporting market stability and helped in improving oil rates.

The new oil minister told reporters that it was still early to end the agreement. Everyone is still looking forward to the next meeting in June 2018 to discuss the latest developments in the market.

Rashidi is one of the people who deal with the oil sector on a daily basis--his intuitive sense for demand was refined with a multitude of experiences with refinery operations abroad.

He has worked in Europe and Asia markets.

Rashidi appears to be very optimistic about next year's demand growth.

"It's premature to talk about exit strategy. Any exit strategy in the future will surely be implemented in a smooth manner that will not disrupt the stability of the market and it will be on a gradual basis," the newly appointed oil minister, said in a statement.

"The developments of market fundamentals will continue to be closely monitored by the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC), in which the State of Kuwait is a leading member, to ensure that the target of re-balancing the market and restoring its stability is achieved," he added.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producers led by Russia agreed last month to extend oil output cuts until the end of 2018 to help lower global inventories and support prices.

Kuwait plans to adjust its oil strategy to reach production capacity of 4.750 million bpd in 2040, Kuwait's oil minister told reporters.

In terms of the project on Oman’s Duqm refinery, a joint venture between Oman Oil Company and KPC said to be about $5 billion worth, will be finalized for construction. The funding will be provided by international banks.

Rashidi predicted that the process of arranging the finances for the refinery would be completed during the first quarter of 2018.

He added that work on the refinery, which will have a refining capacity of 230,000 barrels per day, will start in the second half of next year.

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