M.E. Online - 27/4/2006
Opposition lawmakers Tuesday proposed legislation demanding that Kuwait's oil production be based on the size of proven reserves which had been reported to be lower than official figures.
The bill, a copy of which was obtained by AFP, imposes a cap on the amount of crude oil the government can produce every year which must be proportional to proven reserves.
The bill states that annual production of the OPEC member, estimated at just under one billion barrels in each of the past two years, should not exceed one percent of the size of proven reserves.
The bill comes amid speculation that the emirate has inflated the size of its oil wealth.
The authoritative industry newsletter Petroleum Intelligence Weekly (PIW) reported in January that Kuwait's oil reserves stood at 48 billion barrels, based on internal Kuwaiti records seen by the newsletter, as opposed to the official figure of 99 billion barrels.
The PIW report also claimed that Kuwait's fully proven reserves amounted to only 24.2 billion barrels.
Energy Minister Sheikh Ahmad Fahd al-Sabah last month denied the PIW report but has not yet answered a question by veteran MP Ahmad al-Saadun, who was among five signatories on the bill, about the size of Kuwaiti reserves.
"The report contained some right information but not the whole picture," Sheikh Ahmad told reporters.
"The information is related to only 31 reservoirs we are currently working on. It does not include reserves in another 74 reservoirs which are not developed," he said.
The emirate announced last month the discovery of new reserves estimated at 10-13 billion barrels of light crude in northern Kuwait.
It also announced the discovery for the first time of huge reserves of free natural gas amounting to some 35 trillion cubic feet (1 trillion cubic meters).