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Kuwait oil output almost at capacity one day after strike ends

[DUBAI] Kuwait's oil production is almost back to capacity one day after workers called off a strike that had disrupted output and sent prices rising.

Opec's fourth-largest producer boosted output to 2.9 million barrels a day on Thursday, acting Oil Minister Anas Al- Saleh said in a letter posted on state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corp's Twitter account. Capacity is 3 million barrels a day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Production was 1.5 million barrels on Tuesday, one day before the strike ended.

The 13,000 members of the Oil & Petrochemical Industries Workers Confederation walked off their jobs to protest cuts in pay and benefits amid a push by Middle Eastern crude exporters to reduce subsidies and government handouts to cope with falling oil prices. A global glut of crude has pushed prices 27 per cent lower in the past year. Worldwide supply surpassed demand by 1.5 million barrels a day in the first quarter, according to the International Energy Agency.

Brent crude fell as much as 2.5 per cent on Thursday and was trading US$1.03 lower at US$44.75 a barrel in London at 3:02 pm local time. Prices had climbed during the strike as Kuwait's output plunged to 1.1 million barrels a day on the first day on Sunday.

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The country's three refineries boosted their total crude- processing rate to 830,000 barrels, according to Al-Saleh's letter. That's an increase from about 520,000 barrels of crude the facilities were able to process during the strike. The refineries have total capacity of about 900,000 barrels a day.