(Updates with oil minister’s comment in first paragraph.)
Oct. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Kuwait, the fifth-largest producer in OPEC, is exporting oil as usual and is not concerned that a nationwide strike by customs workers will block crude shipments, the country’s oil minister told the official news agency KUNA.
State-run Kuwait Petroleum Corp. “has taken all procedures and precautions with regard to production and exports,” Mohammad al-Busairy said, according to the agency. “There is no fear of an impact from the customs employees’ strike on Kuwait’s oil exports.”
Customs union members said their strike for better wages, which started yesterday, had prevented oil tankers from leaving two of the country’s ports. “Late yesterday, about six tankers needed permission to leave the ports but it wasn’t given to them,” Fahad al-Ajmi, a union board member, said in a phone interview today.
The Gulf country pumped 2.56 million barrels a day of crude oil in September, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. A limited strike by port workers in September did not affect oil exports, as Kuwait ships energy products from independent, specialized terminals.
“Oil exports and petroleum derivatives from Kuwaiti ports to international markets are flowing normally,” and Kuwait is meeting customer needs, Sheikh Talal Al-Khalid Al-Sabah, KPC’s managing director for media, said in a telephone text message.
The customs stoppage involves at least 4,000 workers and has disrupted operations at the country’s main airport, sea ports and border crossings, al-Ajmi said.
“We’re not going to stop our strike until the cabinet itself issues a statement supporting our demands,” he said.
Kuwait’s government “rejects” strikes and said demands by state employees should be discussed through “calm dialogue,” KUNA reported, citing Ali al-Rashed, an official spokesman. The government set up a team to “take all necessary measures to run the country to fill gaps caused by strikes,” according to KUNA.
--Editors: Bruce Stanley, John Buckley
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