Kuwait to ship its first light crude grade by end-June

Dubai (Platts)--7 Jun 2018 536 am EDT/936 GMT

Kuwait will make its first shipment of the delayed Super Light crude grade by the end of June, as it completes segregation facilities for the exports, oil minister Bakheet al-Rashidi said Wednesday.

The new grade, with a gravity of 48 API and 0.4% sulfur content, was originally planned for late last year, and then pushed back to April, as Kuwait prepared the segregation facilities to maintain quality.

Kuwait currently ships around 2 million b/d of its single export grade which has a gravity of 31 API. Most of its exports sail to Asia, with around 8% to the US and 7% to Europe.

The new light grade comes mainly from the long-delayed development of the Jurassic gas fields. Kuwait Oil Co. is producing 120,000 b/d to 150,000 b/d of light crude and is preparing separation facilities for export, Rashidi told state-run Kuna news agency.

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Production is expected to increase to 190,000 b/d in July, he added.

Two crude processing facilities were started up in January at the Umm Niqa and Sabriya fields, each producing up to 40,000 b/d of light crude and 100 MMcf/d of gas. A third facility at the West al-Rawdatain will add another 40,000 b/d, taking total light oil production capacity to 120,000 b/d.

It was not clear where the additional 70,000 b/d Rashidi referred to would come from.

Kuwait is also planning a new heavy crude grade later this year, with a gravity of 16 API and 4.9% sulfur content.

Production started last year at a 15,000 b/d heavy oil processing plant at Umm Niqa field. Another 60,000 b/d of heavy oil from Umm Niqa, Ratqa and Sabriya fields in the north of Kuwait will be processed at a new central processing facility being built by UK-based Petrofac.

The facility is due for completion in mid-2019, after which the processing capacity will be built up with new modular units adding 60,000 b/d in phases to take production as high as 400,000 b/d.

-- Adal Mirza,
-- Edited by Irene Tang,

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