Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) has prevailing with regards to creating and isolating light unrefined petroleum from Jurassic generation, Kuwait’s Oil Minister Bakhit Al Rashidi said on Wednesday.
The minister stated that Kuwait is seeking to export this type of oil, the first in Kuwait’s history, by the end of June.
“This would be the first export of a light crude grade from Kuwait,” he said.
The minister added: “Kuwait light crude oil is famous for its high quality and low sulfur content, which provides profitable return to Kuwait in the international markets.”
The new grade, with a gravity of 48 API and 0.4% sulfur content, was originally planned for late last year, and then pushed back to April, as Kuwait prepared the segregation facilities to maintain quality.
Kuwait currently ships around 2 million b/d of its single export grade which has a gravity of 31 API. Most of its exports sail to Asia, with around 8% to the US and 7% to Europe.
The new light grade comes mainly from the long-delayed development of the Jurassic gas fields. Kuwait Oil Co. is producing 120,000 b/d to 150,000 b/d of light crude and is preparing separation facilities for export, Rashidi told state-run Kuna news agency.
Production is expected to increase to 190,000 b/d in July, he added.
Two crude processing facilities were started up in January at the Umm Niqa and Sabriya fields, each producing up to 40,000 b/d of light crude and 100 MMcf/d of gas. A third facility at the West al-Rawdatain will add another 40,000 b/d, taking total light oil production capacity to 120,000 b/d.
It was not clear where the additional 70,000 b/d Rashidi referred to would come from.
Kuwait is also planning a new heavy crude grade later this year, with a gravity of 16 API and 4.9% sulfur content.
Production started last year at a 15,000 b/d heavy oil processing plant at Umm Niqa field. Another 60,000 b/d of heavy oil from Umm Niqa, Ratqa and Sabriya fields in the north of Kuwait will be processed at a new central processing facility being built by UK-based Petrofac. The facility is due for completion in mid-2019, after which the processing capacity will be built up with new modular units adding 60,000 b/d in phases to take production as high as 400,000 b/d.