Kuwait, Saudi Arabia start trial oil pumping from divided zone: Kuwait minister

FILE PHOTO: Kuwait's Oil Minister Khaled Ali Al-Fadhel arrives at the OPEC headquarters in Vienna, Austria December 6, 2019. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

DUBAI (Reuters) - Kuwait and Saudi Arabia will start trial oil production from the jointly-operated Wafra and Khafji oilfields on Sunday, Kuwait’s oil minister said.

Khaled al-Fadhel said that trial production from the two fields in the Neutral Zone will increase gradually till it reaches its normal levels, Kuwait state news agency KUNA cited him as saying.

Fadhel said that he expects oil production from the Neutral Zone to reach 550,000 barrels per day before the end of the year. The production from the zone is divided between both Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

The minister also said Kuwait now aims to boost its oil production capacity to 4 million bpd by 2040, after revising the country’s oil strategy.

Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, both members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), agreed last year to end a five-year dispute over the border area known as the Neutral Zone, allowing production to resume at two jointly run fields that can pump up to 0.5% of the world’s oil supply.

Reporting by Nayera Abdallah, writing by Ranai El Gamal; Editing by Toby Chopra