State energy giant Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) has refuted comments made by the country’s oil minister that a planned 1-million-barrel-a-day (b/d) boost to the emirate’s oil production will take 10 years longer than originally planned.

Kuwait produces a maximum of 3 million b/d of oil and KPC plans to increase this to 4 million b/d by 2020.

However, on 6 October Kuwaiti Oil Minister Sheikh Ahmad al-Abdullah al-Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, caused confusion when he told told state media that the government had delayed the target to 2030 because KPC lacked the expertise to increase production before then.

The announcement surprised KPC staff, according to a Senior source at state refiner Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC), a subsidiary of KPC.

“We are really surprised he has announced this,” says the source. “It almost sounds like a mistake. We will have clarification on the issue within the next one to two days.”

Mohamed al-Shatti, the office manager of KPC’s chief executive officer (CEO) Saad al-Shuwaib, says KPC has not changed its plans.

“This is not correct,” he says. “The plans are that by 2020 Kuwait’s capacity will be 4 million b/d and this [capacity] will be maintained until 2030.”

Although Kuwait has the world’s fifth-largest proven reserves of oil, the country has struggled to develop production in recent years.