Kuwait's $508 Billion Oil Spending Plan Gets Attention of Banks

Nizar Al-Adsani, CEO of Kuwait Petroleum Corp.

Photographer: F. Carter Smith

Kuwait’s $508 billion energy spending plan and the prospect for juicy profits from financing it is grabbing the attention of some of the nation’s banks.

With Brent crude near $70 a barrel, oil companies are looking to spend to boost production and build refineries after cutting back since oil began plunging in June 2014. Kuwait, OPEC’s fifth-biggest crude producer, plans to invest $114 billion on capital projects over the next five years and another $394 billion by 2040, Kuwait Petroleum Corp. Chief Executive Officer Nizar Al-Adsani said this week.

The nation’s lenders are focused on financing those projects, Shaheen Hamad Al Ghanem, CEO of Kuwait’s Warba Bank, said in an interview with CNBC Arabia televised Thursday.

“The oil sector has for the first time announced its plans for the coming years," he said. “This will be the focus and will, without a doubt, be a strong catalyst for development of Kuwaiti banks."

More spending from the state oil giant will be a welcome change. Middle Eastern economies took a hit as governments struggled to cope with falling crude oil prices and spending cuts.

Kuwait Finance House aims to be “a key partner" with national oil companies to fund projects in the next five years, CEO Mazin Al Nahedh told CNBC Arabia earlier this week.

— With assistance by Salma El Wardany

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