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Kuwait to splash US$100b on oil projects

[KUWAIT CITY] Opec member Kuwait plans to spend about US$100 billion in the next five years on oil projects to modernise the vital sector, the emirate's oil minister said on Wednesday.

"We already have started the implementation of the 2030 strategy, and overall spending over the next five years is estimated to be at US$100 billion," Ali al-Omair told an oil conference in Kuwait City.

The funds "will be spent on various projects related to production, refining, petrochemicals, as well as transportation," Mr Omair said.

Kuwait plans to increase its crude production capacity to 4.0 million barrels per day by 2020 and maintain it until 2030 from the current level of about 3.2 million bpd.

The investment plans come as oil prices have shed about 60 per cent of their value since June. Income from the sector accounts for around 94 per cent of Kuwait's public revenues.

The government earlier this month proposed investment spending of US$155 billion during the next five-year development plan starting in April.

Nizar al-Adasani, the chief executive of national oil conglomerate Kuwait Petroleum Corp, told the conference the emirate plans to raise its production capacity to 3.5 million bpd by the end of 2015.

"We are focusing on the upstream where the challenges are so great. It is our strategy to invest to maintain excess capacity," said Mr Adasani.

In the past year, Kuwait has launched two mega projects - one worth US$12 billion to make two of its three refineries more environmentally friendly and another valued at US$4.2 billion to produce heavy crude.

It is still reviewing bids for a US$15 billion project to build a new 615,000-bpd refinery.