Kuwait May Let Westewrn Firms Explore Fields near Iraqi Border

Article excerpt

HOUSTON (AP) _ Kuwait is considering allowing Western oil companies to explore and develop new oil fields near the Iraqi border as security buffer for the Persian Gulf nation, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

Industry officials said they learned about the possible move from Kuwaiti government officials, the Houston Chronicle reported.

A spokesman for the Kuwaiti embassy in Washington said he had no information on the matter.

Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990 and was routed by a U.S. led international military force. Experts said Kuwait may want a line of foreign oil companies at the Kuwait-Iraq border to perhaps deter another Iraqi invasion.

"It's a security strategy," said Vahan Zanoyan of the Washington-based consulting firm Petroleum Finance Co. "It has nothing to do with oil."

But Terry Hallmark, manager of political risk and policy assessment for Geneva-based Petroconsultants, said he doubted the plan would deter Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from sending troops into Kuwait if he wished.

"My judgment is that's kind of a flimsy safeguard, because he's likely to care not," said Hallmark, who works in Petroconsultants' Houston office.

The notion of using foreign oil companies as security shield has raised some concerns in Washington over the danger U. …

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