The constitution prohibits foreign ownership of the state’s natural resources, and critics of the estimated $8,500 million, 20-year scheme – which calls for the assistance of international oil companies in increasing oil production from four northern oil fields – argue that it is tantamount to just that. ‘Only a Kuwaiti company should be allowed to develop the northern oil fields with the help of foreign expertise,’ said MP Musallam al-Barrak.

Parliament’s economy and finance committee recently concluded its report into the bill – presented to the legislature in January – making a number of recommendations. The draft enabling law will be put to parliament for debate and a vote in October, once it reconvenes, but it still remains unclear whether the government will be able to obtain the majority it needs to press ahead with the scheme despite seven years of trying (MEED 26:8:05; 1:7:05).