Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 01/27/2014 -- BMI View: Despite abundant below ground potential, Kuwait looks set to continue underperforming as its business environment outweighs the lure of its remaining below ground resources. We expect Kuwait to miss its 4mn b/d by 2020 target on the back of numerous delays to upstream projects. Setbacks are also leading to delays to a planned - and sorely needed expansion of gas capacity, as well as to major downstream projects. While we expect downstream projects to eventually advance, we believe liquids supplies will disappoint as gas supply tightens, leading to an increasing reliance on imports.
We highlight the following trends and developments in Kuwait's oil & gas sector:
- In 2012 Kuwait oil production rose to some 2.79mn barrels per day (b/d), as Kuwait took advantage of high global prices and reduced availability of Iranian crude due to international sanctions. From January to October to 2013, crude production averaged 2.8mn b/d according to the IEA. According to the most recent available data at the time of writing, sustainable production capacity was at 2.9mn b/d. We expect output to largely remain around this level, with production expected to average around 2.87mn b/d including condensate and natural gas liquids (NGLs) for 2013.
- In July, Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) chief executive Hashem Sayed Hashem revealed discovery of a new oil and gas field near the existing Manageesh oilfield. Resource estimates were not revealed, but the find indicated the upside from an uptick in exploratory activity. Additionally, KOC indicated in September it would begin a 2D seismic survey targeting an area of some 7,000km of the country's offshore. 3D surveys were also planned to target Kuwait bay and the area around Kuwait City.
- Kuwait has long sought to increase production capacity towards 4mn b/d as part of the so-called Project Kuwait; however, there were reports that this production target was pushed from 2020 to 2030. More recent reports indicate that reaching the 4mn b/d market by 2020 is still the goal, with former KOC managing director Sami al-Rushaid pointing out in May 2013 that the company planned to set the production capacity plateau at 4mn b/d from 2020 to 2030. In September, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Oil Mustafa Al-Shimali reiterated that Kuwait was on track to reach the 4mn b/d mark by 2020.
- As part of Project Kuwait, additional volumes are targeted from the Partition Neutral Zone (PNZ), northern oil fields and heavy oil fields. In the case of heavy oil, for example, we note an additional 60,000b/d is targeted by 2015 and a further 270,000b/d by 2020. Although a sizeable increase, the 270,000b/d target is well below original plans which called for a 750,000b/d contribution from heavy oil by 2020.
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