, KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait, Apr 17 – Thousands of Kuwait’s oil workers began an open-ended strike on Sunday in protest at plans to cut their wages, action which saw the emirate’s crude production plunge.
A spokesman for the Kuwait Oil Co. (KOC), Saad al-Azemi, said on Twitter that “average production reached 1.1 million” barrels in Kuwait on Sunday.
Daily production in OPEC’s fourth largest producer is normally around 3.0 million barrels per day.
Azemi also said natural gas production was at 620 million cubic feet, down from Kuwait’s daily average of more than 1.3 billion cubic feet.
The strike comes as world oil producers gathered in Qatar aiming to negotiate an output freeze to boost prices.
“Thousands of workers began their strike,” the oil workers union chief Saif al-Qahtani told AFP, adding that production had been partly halted but without clarifying which sites were affected.
“Observed since 7:00 am (0400 GMT), this open-ended strike will continue until the workers’ demands are met,” Qahtani said.
The cabinet strongly criticised the “unacceptable” strike, calling it a “clear violation of the law”, and demanded legal measures against those involved.
The government also urged Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC) to mobilise the manpower needed to ensure continued production.
On Saturday, the union turned down an appeal from Kuwait’s acting oil minister,