In 1934, the ruler of Kuwait granted an oil concession to the Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), jointly owned by the British Petroleum Company and the Gulf Oil Corporation. In 1976, the Kuwaiti Government nationalized KOC. The following year, Kuwait took over part of onshore production in the Divided Zone between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Kuwait Gulf Oil Company (KGOC) produces jointly there with Saudi Arabian Chevron, which, by its 1984 purchase of Getty Oil Company, acquired the Saudi Arabian onshore concession in the Divided Zone. Saudi Arabia renewed Chevron's concession in the Divided Zone for another 30 years effective from February 2009. KGOC also manages offshore production operations, while Aramco Gulf Oil Company (AGOC) manages the Saudi portion of the offshore Divided Zone.
Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), an integrated, state-owned oil company, is the parent company of the government's operating companies in the petroleum sector. It includes Kuwait Oil Company, which produces oil and gas; Kuwait National Petroleum Company, which manages refining and domestic sales; Petrochemical Industries Company, which produces ammonia, urea, ethylene, propylene, and styrene and participates in a number of successful joint ventures with Dow Chemical within Kuwait and abroad; Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company, which is responsible for exploration and upstream production outside Kuwait (in several developing countries and Australia); Kuwait Oil Tanker Company; Kuwait Gulf Oil Company, responsible for exploration and production in the Kuwait portions of the offshore and onshore Divided Zone; and Kuwait Petroleum International, which manages refining and retail operations outside Kuwait (in Europe and East Asia).
According to official Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) figures, Kuwait has approximately 101.5 billion barrels of proven oil reserves (including the Kuwaiti share of proven reserves in the Divided Zone), the fifth-largest oil reserves in the world after Saudi Arabia, Canada, Iran, and Iraq. Kuwait recently began limited production from a 35 trillion cubic feet natural gas field discovered in 2006. By 1993 Kuwait had restored its production capacity to its pre-occupation levels of 2.4 million bpd. Kuwait's current oil production capacity is estimated to be 2.27 million bpd. Kuwait plans to increase its capacity to 3.5 million bpd by 2015 and 4.0 million bpd by 2020. Many analysts question whether these goals are feasible. Kuwaiti export crude averaged $60.30 per barrel in 2009.
KPC purchased refineries in the Netherlands and Italy and service stations in the Benelux nations, Italy, and Scandinavia from Gulf Oil Company. In 1987, KPC bought a 19% share in British Petroleum, which was later reduced to 10%. KPC markets its products in Europe under the brand name Q8. In 2006, KPC announced plans to participate in a joint venture to build and operate a refinery and associated petrochemical plant in China. In April 2008, KPC signed a joint venture agreement with Idemitsu Kosan-Japan to hold a 35.1% stake, worth $6 billion, of Vietnam's second refinery.
On May 12, 2008, KPC awarded a $14 billion project to construct a fourth refinery to several international firms. The project would increase refining capacity from the current 930,000 barrels per day to 1.5 million barrels per day by 2012. The project has been under review by parliament since January 2009 and has not yet been retendered.
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