KUWAIT: The Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) labor union held a sit-in yesterday evening at its headquarters in Ahmadi in protest over statements made by Oil Minister Essam Al-Marzouq on privatizing the oil sector. The protest was attended by some lawmakers and members of other labor syndicates, all of whom expressed total rejection of the government’s intentions to privatize the sector.
MPs Khaled Al-Otaibi, Nayef Al-Merdas and Faisal Al-Kandari stressed their support of the oil sector employees’ demands. They noted that being new to the post, the oil minister should comply with the demands or face a grilling. Rejecting any privatization plans, the lawmakers argued the concept of privatization in Kuwait is different than that in other parts of the world, since oil is Kuwait’s only source of national income. They also warned that privatization will harm Kuwaiti oil sector employees, including around 450 lab technicians and engineers.
In a program broadcast on Sunday, Marzouq told Sky News Arabia that Kuwait’s oil investment strategy had not been changed by falling oil prices. “We have a plan until 2020 to spend around $120 billion, and this has not changed because we think the fall (of oil prices) was short-term, and these were long-term investments and will have big revenues for the economy.” Marzouq said he hoped oil prices would stay between $55 and $60 a barrel or move even higher if market fundamentals helped.
On the privatization of the oil sector, Marzouq said there were some activities which could not be privatized such as exploration and production, but areas related to oil services could be privatized and Kuwait had a plan to do this in the coming two to three years.
By Meshaal Al-Enezi