Kuwait has increased its crude production to 1.5 million barrels a day (b/d) after reducing output amid strikes by Kuwaiti oil workers.

Kuwaiti crude production has increased from 1.2 million b/d on 17 April on the first day of the strikes, but remains far below normal production levels of about 2.7 million b/d.

The open-ended strike, led by the Oil and Petrochemical Industries Workers Confederation, has entered its second day. Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) has been running its facilities using non-Kuwaiti workers, contractors and by recalling retirees. Thousands of workers are striking against alleged public sector pay cuts.

Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) on the evening of 17 April restarted operations at early production facility 120 (EPF-120), which handles 120,000 b/d at the northern Ratqa and Abdali fields.

“KOC is racing against time to resume the operation of oil collection centres 21 and 24 to return the state’s oil and gas production back to previous levels”, said the official Kuwait News Agency (Kuna) citing oil sector spokesman Talal Khaled al-Sabah.

“KOC’s production of crude oil in northern wells have returned back to normal levels,” he said, adding that KOC’s restart of crude collection centre 11, located in southeastern Kuwait, has also boosted output.

Al-Sabah said that refiner Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) is meeting local demand for gas, gasoline and other oil production, while state oil group KPC is meeting its international export commitments.

KNPC cut refining output to 520,000 b/d from 930,000 b/d before the strike as part of a contingency plan.

A statement from KOC on 17 April said Kuwait was producing 620 million cubic feet a day (cf/d) of natural gas. In recent years Kuwait has produced an average of about 1.6 billion cf/d.

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