(MENAFN - Arab Times) Kuwait has increased its oil production capacity to 3.3 million barrels of oil a day (bpd) and is hoping to reach 3.5 million bpd in 2015, the head of its state oil company said on Monday. Kuwaiti officials have previously said that capacity in the OPEC member state was around 3.1-3.2 million bpd. "Kuwait has increased its production capacity to 3.3 million barrels per day. It will reach 3.5 million barrels per day by 2015," Kuwait Petroleum Corporation Chief Executive Nizar al-Adsani told an oil conference. Kuwait hopes to reach 4 million bpd of capacity in 2020, despite slow progress in developing new projects. But Adsani said the Gulf Arab state needed more help from abroad to achieve that target
"There is an urgent need to seek the assistance of foreign companies given the technologies and expertise that will contribute to the rationalisation of the use of the natural reserves we have," he said. OPEC member Kuwait will invite bids for a new multi-billion-dollar oil refinery next month as part of a drive to modernise the key sector, a top executive said on Monday. "We will invite bids for the new refinery project in May," CEO of national conglomerate Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC) Nezar al-Adasani said. "Another project costing 1.0 billion for the development of heavy oil from northern oilfields will be awarded later in April," Adasani told reporters on the sidelines of the second Gulf Petroleum Forum. The cost of the new 615,000 barrels per day Al-Zour refinery is estimated to be around 15 billion (11 billion euros). Contracts for another 12-billion project to upgrade two of the three existing refineries, awarded in February, will be signed next week with three consortia led by British, US and Japanese companies
Kuwait has been working to modernise its oil sector which provides around 94 percent of public revenues. Meanwhile, Kuwaiti Oil Minister Ali al-Omair said Monday that current oil prices are "fair" despite strong geopolitical factors impacting the region. OPEC member Kuwait is the world's fourth-largest oil exporter, pumping around 3.0 million barrels per day, of which at least 2.6 million bpd are exported in the form of crude oil and petroleum products. "There are geopolitical factors impacting oil prices... which are not only controlled by output levels and production capacity but also by political changes," Omair told reporters on the sidelines of the second Gulf Petroleum Forum. "We, as exporters and importers, wish to see stability in production and prices," he said, voicing hope that prices would remain "fair" as "they are now". The Kuwaiti minister said that it is not necessary that "high prices are good for producers and low prices are good for consumers"
Crude prices dropped in Asian trade Monday after rebels agreed to reopen two of the four blockaded oil terminals in eastern Libya. New York's main contract West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for May delivery dropped 30 cents to 100.84 a barrel in afternoon trade and Brent North Sea crude for May slid 80 cents to 105.92. Omair said that political disputes between member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have not affected the joint oil policy of the six-nation alliance. Last month, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Qatar over Doha's perceived support for the Muslim Brotherhood