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Saudi, Kuwait to shut joint oilfield for 2 weeks – Kuwaiti source

The scheduled closure of the Wafra onshore oilfield, operated by a Saudi Arabian unit of U.S. oil major Chevron, will start on Monday night or Tuesday.

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DUBAI, May 11 (Reuters) – A jointly operated onshore oilfield between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will be shut for two weeks of maintenance, a Kuwaiti industry source said on Monday, a move apparently aimed to give the Gulf OPEC allies more time to solve a long-standing dispute.

The scheduled closure of the Wafra onshore oilfield, operated by a Saudi Arabian unit of U.S. oil major Chevron, will start on Monday night or Tuesday, the source told Reuters. The source declined to be named because of the commercial sensitivity of the matter.

“It is planned maintenance starting from tonight or tomorrow,” the source said, adding that total production from the onshore field in the Neutral Zone between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait was around 190,000 barrels per day.

Last month, Saudi Chevron told its partner, Kuwait Gulf Oil Company, that it planned to shut down Wafra after failing to resolve various disputes with the Kuwaiti authorities mainly related to the right to operate, according to industry sources.

Chevron has said it has faced problems obtaining supplies and work permits for its expatriate staff.

The Kuwaiti source dismissed that disputes with Chevron was the reason for the shutdown.

The shutdown of Wafra comes after the crude output from another jointly operated field, Khafji, was halted in October to comply with environmental regulations.

The move is unlikely to affect oil supplies from Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, because of the kingdom’s significant crude output capacity, currently at 12.5 million barrels per day (bpd).

But it adds to a long list of disruptions in projects between the two neighbouring OPEC members, hampering oil and gas exploration and production from shared fields.

Chevron, Kuwaiti and Saudi oil officials could not be reached immediately for comment. (Reporting by Rania El Gamal and Reem Shamseddine; Editing by Janet Lawrence)