The emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, held talks with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud on 28 October, amid a worsening spat over operations in the neutral zone shared by the two countries.

Kuwait has stopped issuing work permits for Saudi employees of US energy company Chevron at Kuwaiti oil fields that are being jointly developed by the two nations.

It has also formally requested that Chevron moves out of its offices in the neutral zone town of Mina al-Zour.

Chevron operates Saudi Arabia’s 50 per cent share of the Wafra field, which is located in the neutral zone and produces about 200,000 barrels a day (b/d).

Failure to resolve the dispute could lead to production ceasing at Wafra, according to a letter sent from Chevron to the Kuwaiti oil ministry that was seen by The Wall Street Journal.

The spat has also fuelled speculation that there could be delays to the ongoing $5bn oil field development project on the site.

Front-end engineering design (feed) work is currently being carried out on behalf of the clients, Chevron and Kuwait Gulf Oil Company (KGOC).

The development scheme involves:

  • 288 producing wells
  • 133 injection wells
  • 67 observation wells
  • 5 stormwater injection wells
  • Associated facilities

Chevron has declined requests for an update on the project’s progress.

The feed work for the scheme is expected to be completed later this year and the project is expected to be commissioned in 2020.