Kuwait’s emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Ahmad has sworn in the new Kuwaiti government, the ninth to be appointed since he assumed power in January 2006.

The government, led by Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah, was sworn in by the emir at Seif Palace on 14 February. It is the second government under Sheikh Jaber, who was appointed in December 2011. The inauguration coincides with the commencement of the new parliament, which was dissolved in November last year. Parliamentary elections were held on 2 February.

The new cabinet includes 10 new ministers. The ruling Al-Sabah family maintains four key positions, including the offices of the Ministry of Defence, Information, Interior and Foreign Affairs.

Hani Abdulaziz Hussein, a former cheif executive officer of state-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) and its upstream operator Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) has been appointed Oil Minister, taking over from Mohammad al-Baseeri. Hussein has also previously served as chairman and managing director of Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC).

Kamil al-Harami, an oil consultant based in Kuwait City, is cautiously optimistic about the prospects of the new oil minister.

“Hussein has been through the A to Z of the Kuwait oil industry. There is no question, he is the right person for the role. It is the first time we have had someone in the Oil Ministry, who has this kind of experience. He drafted KPC’s initiatives, and now there is a chance to improve KPC’s image and put the Kuwait oil sector back on the map,” says Al-Harami.

It is the first time we have had someone in the Oil Ministry, who has this kind of experience

Kuwait has stalled the development of two major downstream projects worth an estimated total of $30bn, despite receiving approval from the Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC), the country’s highest decision-making body in the oil sector in June last year. It has also made little progress in developing the country’s technically complex northern gas fields.

KOC signed a controversial $800m enhanced technical service agreement with the UK/Dutch oil major Shell Group for the development of the field. The deal has faced a number of questions from parliament over transparency.

“There should not be anything to stop him executing the big projects – the fourth refinery, the clean fuels project, and tackling Kuwait’s gas issues. The projects are not moving forward and he has to find out why,” says Al-Harami.

How much say Hussein will have as Oil Minister, however is open to question since Kuwait’s oil sector policy is determined by the SPC.

New ministers
Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Sheikh Ahmad Khalid al-Hamad al-Sabah
Commerce and Industry Minister Anas Khalid Al-Saleh
Social Affairs and Labour Minister Ahmad Abdulatif al-Rujeib
Minister of Justice and Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Ahmad al-Shihab
Minister of State for Housing Affairs and National Assembly Affairs Shueib Shabbab al-Muweizri
Health Minister Dr Ali Saad al-Obeidi
Electricity and Water Minister and Minister of State for Municipal Affairs Abdulaziz Abdulatif al-Ibrahim
Information Minister Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah al-Mubarak al-Sabah
Education and Higher Education Minister Dr Nayef Falah al-Hajraf
Oil Minister Hani Abdulaziz Hussein
First Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Ahmad Homoud al-Sabah
Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Affairs and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Sabah Khalid al-Hamad al-Sabah
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Mustafa al-Shimali
Minister of Public Works and Minister of State for Planning and Development Affairs Dr. Fadhel Safar Ali Safar

Source: Kuna