Kuwait plans to deploy national guard units to run some oil facilities after workers announced a major strike, Kuwait’s Al-Rai newspaper reported.

Workers at oil, gas and petrochemical companies in Kuwait said they will go on strike from 17 April in protest over government plans to cut benefits and wages.

Al-Rai, citing informed sources, said that Kuwait’s oil production is expected to fall by 500,000-1 million barrels a day (b/d) if the strike goes ahead. The national guard was prepared to secure the installations in Al-Shuaiba and Umm al-Aish refineries from 13 April to managing the operations.

Kuwait produced an average of 2.772 million b/d of crude in March, according to Opec estimates based on secondary sources. Based on the Al-Rai report, the strikes could force Kuwait to cut production by between 18 per cent and 36 per cent.