By Yousuf Awadh Al-Azmi
“The war and terrorism in the Middle East, the crises of leadership in many of the oil supplying countries in the developing world, the crises of global warming – all these are very clearly tied to energy.” – Julia Louis-Dreyfus
There are those who speak about direct and indirect industrial investment in Kuwait. Also, there are those who describe the situation with negativity and the lack of feasibility of investment in the industry in Kuwait, and each has their justification without a doubt. But we will talk about what we believe is realistic here, and we will not fly high without imagination and dreams. I will speak about what is possible and not what is imposed, especially since I am not specialized in such a field. I am speaking purely from an administrative point of view, and this has merit, otherwise I would not allude to this subject.
Every observer knows that the top financial source in Kuwait is the oil sector, as out of oil sales, Kuwaitis’ life is made. Each interested party knows we in Kuwait have not used “black gold” ideally so far, as oil in the scientific and economic concept is a primary source for many industries such as petrochemicals and others. So let us suppose, for example, that the selling price of a barrel of oil is $80, be sure that with simple mathematics, the value of this barrel if used ideally will be over $200.
There is also the strategic security benefit, and I will allude here to the northern fields project that was discussed and not approved by the state’s political establishments (government and National Assembly). Its idea was to bring in international oil companies to operate in Kuwait’s northern fields, which affords Kuwait many benefits, most notably with advanced technologies in discovery and refining and reducing carbon emissions, in addition to training Kuwaitis on the most advanced oil technology platforms in the world. Last but not the least, considering the presence of these international companies as a security wall to protect the country, especially under the political and security circumstances known to all, and by this the country can hit many birds with one stone!
What is the ideal use? It is using the oil barrel in petrochemicals and transformative industries, so it will be possible to benefit from this barrel higher than the market price; rather making double the financial return from sale. This is an important matter that should be discussed and make sure about the ability of implementation and the availability of the necessary facilities.
There is huge and tremendous wealth in the oil sector, and it is possible to benefit from it in creating unlimited number of employment opportunities. The oil sector is not as many people believe -establishments that work like accountants, selling oil and using the money – rather there are many benefits from it.
To have oilfields does not mean to only be a seller of gasoline and diesel at gas stations, or aviation fuel, or invest surplus income in sovereign funds. Despite the feasibility in this, we must not ignore industries linked to this valuable wealth, as their returns have an added value to the economy, politics, security and society.
These are only several points, and not all can be done. But it is important for the state to take interest through research and studies related to this important matter. It is also very important to establish academically recognized research centers, such as a university specialized in oil and its sciences. Kuwait deserves this, as it is not realistic for a country that produces and exports oil like Kuwait to not have a specialized university and institutes that provide the country with competent and trained people educated in such an important academic field.