Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Kuwait Plans to Regain OPEC Status

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Kuwait Plans to Regain OPEC Status

Article excerpt

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) _ Tiny Kuwait, its oil industry rebuilt after the Persian Gulf War, is ready to try again to reclaim its prewar status in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

The emirate, rebounding from the damage caused by the Iraqi invasion in 1990, will renew demands to pump more crude oil at a cartel meeting opening Tuesday in Geneva.

A rebuff earlier in the year by OPEC appears to have strengthened the producer's resolve to fight for a higher oil output quota.

"Kuwait really feels it's justified in seeking that extra production," said Peter Bogin, associate director for oil markets at Cambridge Energy Research Associates in Paris. "They're going to go after it in a big way."

Kuwaiti Oil Minister Ali al-Baghli wants the cartel to let his country pump 2 million barrels of crude a day in the summer, up 400,000 barrels from its current limit.

Al-Baghli's insistence _ although unsuccessful in the end _ on a higher allotment at the group's last meeting in February snarled the bargaining for days.

"This time it could be worse," said Vahan Zanoyan, senior director of the Petroleum Finance Co. in Washington.

Kuwaitis, he said, "feel they were promised that their case would be dealt with" at the upcoming meeting. "If there is resistance, they're going to fight back."

Even so, analysts doubt Kuwait will get all the barrels it wants.

They predict the cartel will bump its current production ceiling of 23.6 million barrels a day up several hundred thousand barrels in the July-September period. Demand is forecast at about 24.2 million barrels a day then.

Demand for the group's oil tends to rise in summer when consumers in the United States and Europe gas up their cars for vacation driving.

In February, the dozen OPEC nations agreed to remove 1.7 million barrels of oil a day from the glutted markets to keep crude prices from crashing in spring when demand normally falls. …

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