Kuwait and Iraq have reached a preliminary agreement over oilfields in a border area at the heart of Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of the state, an Iraqi official said in remarks published yesterday.
The agreement sets out the technical and legal mechanism to invest in oilfields shared by the two countries, Iraq's Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Mohammed Haj Humud told Kuwaiti daily Al Jarida.
Iraq and Kuwait had also agreed to contract international consultants to prepare a plan for joint development of the fields, he said. Several oil fields are in the border area between Kuwait and Iraq, most prominently the Ratqa field, which is a southern extension of Iraq's giant Rumaila field.
In the weeks before the 1990 occupation, Baghdad accused Kuwait of stealing billions of dollars worth of its Rumaila oil through horizontal drilling.
Kuwait denied the charge.
After the Gulf War, United Nations demarcation put all Ratqa wells within Kuwaiti territory. Humud said Kuwait and Iraq have concluded the border demarcation according to UN Security Council resolutions. Besides oilfields, the location of border posts on farms in the area was a factor in the dispute.
"After the border demarcation, part of these farms is now on the border line and was divided up between Kuwait and Iraq, and Kuwait has recognized the ownership of these farms and has paid compensation for their Iraqi owners," Humud said.
According to the US energy department, the Ratqa field, which is run by state-owned Kuwait Oil Co, has a production of 45,000 barrels per day.
The Rumaila fields, operated by Iraq's South Oil Co, are giant fields accounting for most of Iraqi oil output. They pump around 1.3 million bpd.
Also extending into the Kuwait territory is the Zubair oilfield, near the Rumaila field.
QATAR GAS OUTPUT TARGET TO BE MET BY 2012
Qatari Oil Minister Abdullah Al Attiyah said Qatar would reach its target liquefied natural gas capacity of 77 million tonnes per year by 2012, a newspaper reported yesterday.
Attiyah said Qatar's gas production currently stood at 31 million tonnes a year and would increase by 46 million tonnes over the course of the next three years, Al Watan reported.
The oil minister had recently said the world's largest liquefied natural gas exporter would ramp up production by 2010, while officials at state gas companies had said Qatar would not reach the 77-million tonne target until 2012.
The minister said the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries was becoming accustomed to the rise and fall in oil prices but that there were expectations conditions in the market would stabilise in 2010, Al Watan said.