|Last week during his visit to Kuwait, the Iraqi oil minister stressed the need for full cooperation between the two countries in almost all fields particularly oil and gas. This is in consideration of the fact that both countries share some oil fields that are very close to their borders and require full cooperation, if not joint operations similar to the Khafji and Wafra operations in the south between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The closest fields between Kuwait and Iraq are Al-Ratquia and Al-Abdali.|
Another main area of interest is gas which Kuwait desperately needs and is currently importing from various parts of the world in order to meet the electricity demand during summer. Meanwhile, Iraq has ample supply of gas. Therefore, both countries need each other.
Another aspect requiring mutual cooperation is for building a power station near the border in order to cater for the northern region of Kuwait and Basra City in Iraq.
Last week’s visit resulted in the daily import of approximately 50 million cubic feet of gas which is gradually increasing to 200 million cubic feet per day. The exact date for the imports will be determined by the joint committee that has been formed for this purpose.
There are many opportunities for both countries to invest, especially the private sector, either in export of oil and gas in Iraq or in building refineries in Iraq, as it is in desperate need for finished petroleum products. Meanwhile, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) can continue to send them products as it used to in the past or even exchange oil for gas.
The other area of cooperation is the import of water from Iraq, which for many years until now has been on the agenda but did not see the light. In the early 40s, Kuwait used to import water from its northern neighbor, so importing water from Iraq again will not be a new experience. In mid-80s, we also used to import Iraqi gas and sell their excess Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).
Both countries should work on developing such a business as there are unlimited economic opportunities but the need for goodwill and desire to move forward are essential.
Let us hope for a quick start of gas import; we can then really test the will and desire!
By Kamel Al-Harami
Independent Oil Analyst