Kuwait oil minister downplays rift with state oil company

24 June 2015

Ali al-Omair says he met with Nizar al-Adsani on 22 June

  • 29 MPs call for a resolution to the ongoing dispute to be debated
  • Al-Omair has appointed nine additional members to Kuwait Petroleum Corporation’s board
  • Al-Adsani says Al-Omair does not have the authority to make the appointments
  • Sources say the dispute could paralyse oil and gas projects in Kuwait

Kuwait’s Oil Minister Ali al-Omair has denied he is refusing to meet with Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) CEO Nizar Mohammad al-Adsani due to a dispute over board members at the state-owned oil company.

Speaking during a session of the National Assembly, Al-Omair said he met with Adsani on 22 June, without giving details of the circumstances of the meeting or what was discussed.

On 22 June, MEED reported that Al-Omair and Al-Adsani were refusing to meet with each other due to the ongoing dispute between the two figures, which centres on efforts by the Oil Ministry to appoint new members to KPC’s board.

Al-Omair has appointed nine new members to the board’s existing seven members.

Critics of the move, including Al-Adsani, have said the ministry does not have the legal power to make the appointments.

During the National Assembly session, Kuwaiti MP Jamal al-Omar said the dispute is damaging the prospects for Kuwait’s energy sector.

He added that 29 MPs had submitted a motion to debate the dispute, and called on the speaker to set a time and date for the debate.

If the problem continues, all schemes that are being tendered or are the subject of studies will stall as they fail to obtain necessary approvals, according to industry sources.

This includes the Al-Zour New Refinery Project (NRP), which is due to see packages worth $10bn-$14bn awarded this year.

KPC is a government-owned holding company and has eight subsidiaries including upstream operator Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) and downstream operator Kuwait National Petroleum Corporation (KNPC).

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