Kuwait hopes to resolve Neutral Zone issue with Saudi Arabia by year-end

Flames are seen at one of Saudi Arabia’s oil production facilities. (File photo: Reuters)

Kuwait’s oil minister said on Sunday he hoped Kuwait and Saudi Arabia will resolve the Neutral Zone issue by the end of 2019.

The two countries halted output from the jointly-run oilfields- Khafji and Wafra - in the so-called Neutral Zone more than three years ago, cutting some 500,000 barrels per day or 0.5 percent of global oil supply.

“We hope that by the end of the year things will be cleared out and things will go back to normal,” Kuwaiti minister Khaled al-Fadhel told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Kuwait.

“Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have always been in agreement (regarding the Neutral Zone conflict),” al-Fadhel added. However, resuming oil production from the zone remains a
political issue that needs to be discussed at higher levels.

In October, Kuwait’s deputy foreign minister Khaled al-Jarallah said negotiations between Kuwait and Riyadh on the Neutral Zone issue were “very positive” and an agreement has been reached.

A source familiar with the Neutral Zone’s oil operations told Reuters that restarting production from the joint fields, once a final agreement has been reached, would be done in phases and it would take months for output to return to its full capacity.

Last Update: 13:51 KSA 16:51 - GMT 13:51