Kuwait Oil Company union protests over privatisation plans

Essam Al-Marzouq told Sky News Arabia on Sunday the country would privatise areas related to oil services

Image taken from Kuwait Times

Members of Kuwait Oil Company’s labour union held a sit-in on Wednesday evening at its headquarters in Ahmadi to protest over privatisation plans revealed by oil minister Essam Al-Marzouq.

Kuwait Times reported that some MPs and other members of labour bodies, who rejected plans to privatise the sector, attended the protest.

MPs Khaled Al-Otaibi, Nayef Al-Merdas and Faisal Al-Kandari said that the oil minister should comply with their demands or face a grilling in parliament.

They also argued that Kuwait’s oil industry should not be privatised as it is the only source of national income and would harm Kuwaiti oil sector employees, including around 450 lab technicians and engineers.

Essam Al-Marzouq told Sky News Arabia on Sunday that Kuwait had changed its oil investment strategy due to falling oil prices.

“We have a plan until 2020 to spend around $120bn, and this has not changed because we think the fall [of oil prices] was short-term, and these were long-term investments and will have big revenues for the economy,” he was quoted as saying.

Al-Marzouq also revealed the country had plans to privatise areas related to oil services in the coming two to three years but would maintain control of exploration and production.

Yesterday’s protest followed a three-day strike over a new payroll system by national oil and gas workers last April.

The strike halted up to 60 per cent of the country’s production and cost an estimated $200m.

Read: Kuwait lost up to $200m during oil strike