Chevron Names Saudi Veteran in Kuwait With Oil Fields to Reopen

  • Fields to reopen in first half of 2017: Kuwait oil minister
  • Wafra, Khafji fields can pump more than 500,000 barrels a day

Chevron Corp. appointed veteran Saudi Arabian executive Ahmad Awad al-Omar as president of its operations in Kuwait as the two neighboring countries prepare to resume production from shared fields with capacity of more than 500,000 barrels a day.

Mohamed al-Marri will replace al-Omar as president of Saudi Arabian Chevron, Sally Jones, a spokeswoman for Chevron, said in an e-mailed response to a Bloomberg request for comment. Al-Omar spent 48 years at Saudi Chevron, including 18 years as president. Al-Marri was senior vice president of administration at the same company.

“Having someone who knows both sides will help Chevron to overcome any future obstacles,” said Abdulsamad al-Awadhi, an independent analyst in London. Al-Awadhi represented Kuwait at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries from 1980 to 2001.

Chevron holds 50 percent of the Wafra onshore oil and natural gas fields that lie in both Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Wafra, which Chevron operates on behalf of Saudi Arabia, closed in May 2015 because of difficulties in securing work permits and access to equipment. The other shared fields are offshore and run by Khafji Joint Operations. They closed in October 2014 because of unspecified environmental concerns. Wafra and Khafji have combined output capacity of more than 500,000 barrels a day.

The shared oil fields will restart production in the first half, Kuwait Oil Minister Issam Almarzooq told reporters in December. Saudi Arabia’s energy minister Khalid Al-Falih agreed at a meeting in November with Almarzooq’s predecessor to resolve many of the environmental and technical issues behind the shutdown of the fields, according to an official familiar with the talks.

Chevron is “encouraged by efforts underway by all appropriate parties to resolve the issue,” according to Jones.

Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have agreed that any resumption of crude production from the shared oil fields won’t raise their output beyond limits set by OPEC, according to two officials familiar with the talks.