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Tankers line up at Kuwait oil port after strike ends

[SINGAPORE] Six supertankers have lined up at Kuwait's crude export terminal to load oil on Wednesday, as the country's oil and gas sector gradually returns to normal after workers ended a three-day strike that had slashed crude production.

Kuwaiti oil and gas workers walked out on Sunday and cut the OPEC member's crude production by nearly half and disrupted its refining operations.

Kuwait has raised its output to 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) on Wednesday, industry sources said, up from 1.1 million bpd on Sunday. The country produced 2.8 million bpd in March.

"There are still some lifters who worry about oil loading,"said a trader with a north Asian company.

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Seven Very Large Crude Carriers have arrived at Mina al-Ahmadi port since Saturday, shipping data on Thomson Reuters Eikon showed. One of the tankers BW Ulan loaded oil on Monday and is heading to South Korea.

The remaining six supertankers are still at the port. One of them, Ridgebury Pride, has been chartered by Bahri to load crude at Saudi Arabia's Ras Tanura terminal on April 20 for delivery to Onsan, South Korea, shipping fixtures showed.

Shipbrokers also highlighted potential delays in loading fuel oil from Kuwait. The Aframax tanker, Nectar Sea, has been waiting since April 14 to load the residual fuel, shipping data showed. The tanker, chartered by the Singapore Petroleum Company, is supposed to deliver fuel oil to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates.

Three other Aframax tankers are also anchored off Mina al-Ahmadi, including the Bahra which has been chartered by Kuwait Petroleum Corp to load clean products for transport to Pakistan, the data showed. Clean products refer to fuels such as gasoline, naphtha and diesel.

Global oil prices fell more than US$1 a barrel on Wednesday on the end of the strike in Kuwait. Prompt Dubai monthly spreads have also eased.

Delays at the Kuwaiti port have added to huge queues of supertankers which have formed in Iraq and China as ports struggle to cope with a global oil glut.