Published On:February 11 2019
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Kuwait Petroleum said to reassess $500bn investment plan.

Kuwait Petroleum is reassessing plans to spend about $500 billion in capital investment and may decide this year to combine its eight business units into four to streamline the company, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Lower oil prices, Kuwait’s reduced output under a deal by OPEC to pump less crude, and a re-evaluation of how best to spend the money have prompted the review, the person said, asking not to be identified as the matter isn’t public. The company announced plans last year to spend about $500 billion on capital projects until 2040.

State-run KPC also may merge Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Co., Kuwait Oil Tanker Co., Kuwait Gulf Oil Co. and Kuwait Integrated Petroleum Industries Co. into larger units as part of its long-term strategy, the person said. The potential consolidation would still require government approval, the person said.

Kuwait’s former oil minister resigned in December amid persistent internal disputes that have delayed projects. The Persian Gulf emirate’s oil industry, which provides more than 90 percent of public revenue, has been caught up in political wrangling for about two decades. KPC is seeking to expand in refining and petrochemicals amid a 28 percent decline in benchmark Brent crude since Oct. 3.

The company rearranged the senior management at each of its eight units earlier in February, appointing only acting CEOs in some cases, setting the stage for possible internal consolidation, the person said. Mergers of the subsidiaries could take as long as two years to complete, the person said.

As part of its reassessment of planned spending, KPC is reviewing investment in so-called heavy oil, which is costly to produce, the person said. It’s targeting production of 85,000 barrels a day of heavy oil by 2020 or 2021 and is investing to develop reservoirs of the dense crude.

Kuwait, the fourth-biggest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, pumped 2.75 million barrels a day in January, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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