Natural resources and energy
Kuwait is the very image of an oil country
itself. Around a tenth of the world's known oil
resources are found in the country and are estimated to
last for 100 years.
The largest oil field Burgan is located in the desert
southwest of the capital Kuwait City. Assets are also
available offshore as well as in the western and
northern parts of the country. In addition, there are
likely to be huge oil resources that cannot be exploited
at a reasonable price with today's methods.
Major exports by Kuwait with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
The Kuwaiti Constitution prohibits foreign ownership
of natural resources. Intense discussion has revolved
around allowing foreign oil companies, which have the
most modern technology, to participate in the
exploitation of the oil fields in the north. The issue
is sensitive to domestic politics and discussions within
the country have become lengthy. This does not mean that
Kuwait has not tried to attract foreign investment. But
foreign capital is wanted mainly to gain access to
industries other than oil, such as tourism and trade. In
2015, a new law came into force that creates larger
"carrots" for foreign investment in several industries.
In the spring of 2006, the country's first
significant natural gas deposit was found, along with
another oil field. The deposits were reported to be so
large that they would increase the country's known oil
reserves by ten percent while Kuwait could become
self-sufficient with natural gas, and gas extraction
began in 2009, but so far the country is a net importer.
In early 2020, a 15-year agreement on imports of
liquefied natural gas from Qatar was signed.
Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, KW stands for Kuwait.
The substantial government subsidies on oil in
various forms have been cut progressively, but higher
fuel prices have been met by popular dissatisfaction.
Severe water shortages are prevalent in Kuwait and
the country relies on desalination plants for its water
Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, partly because the
countries disagreed with the Rumaila oil field, caused a
major environmental disaster. When the Iraqis retreated,
they set fire to oil facilities, and huge oil fires
severely polluted the air. Oil spills also increased as
the Allied aircraft attacked oil terminals in the area.
Marine life was almost completely destroyed, but today
it is about to recover. Even the oil extraction
conducted in peacetime causes environmental degradation,
not least air pollution. In 2014, however, the Kuwaiti
government launched a giant project aimed at making two
of the three oil refineries in the country more
FACTS - ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
9,027 kilograms of oil equivalent (2014)
Electricity consumption per person
15332 kilowatt hours, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
95 408 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
25.2 tonnes (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
0.0 percent (2015)
State subsidies are being investigated
The government appoints a commission to review the extensive government
subsidies that keep the price of many goods and services down. In the past, the
government has warned that the sweet bread days, that is, the system that
guarantees Kuwaiti generous contributions from the state throughout life, cannot
continue as hitherto. The Committee is tasked with investigating how the support
should be designed to reach those who need it most.
Journalist is convicted of defamation
A well-known journalist, Muhammad al-Wushaihi, is sentenced to three months'
imprisonment for defamation after expressing disdain for the country's former
prime minister Nasir al-Muhammad al-Sabah, in a Twitter message.
Many are pardoned by the emir
An appeals court acquits the three former MPs who were sentenced to prison in
February for insulting the emir. A few days later, the emir greets all who have
offended him. During the spring, a few people were sentenced to prison for
criticizing the emir via Twitter. However, the pardon applies only to those who
have received a final judgment. Thus, opposition leader Musallam al-Barrak is
not affected (see April 2013).
Opposition boycott elections
The new parliamentary elections are also boycotted this time by the
opposition, but some of the groups that abstained in the December 2012 elections
are taking part, including some liberals who win three seats. The election will
be a setback for Shi'a Muslims who won big in December. They only manage to get
eight seats this time, that is, half as many as in December. Sunni Muslims
increase their number of seats to seven. The candidates representing different
clans retain their 24 seats; several smaller clans have success. After the
election, Prime Minister Jabir is re-appointed to form a government.
Long prison sentence for network activist
A female network activist is sentenced to eleven years in prison for calling
for a revolt against the regime. It is the harshest judgment to date in such a
Parliament is dissolved and new elections are announced
The Constitutional Court rejects the opposition's objections to the new
electoral laws and at the same time dissolves Parliament with reference to
Opposition leader doomed
Former Member Musallam al-Barrak is sentenced to five years in prison for
undermining the emir's position (see October 2012). Barrak
immediately appeals against the verdict and is eventually released on bail. In
May, the verdict is set aside by an appeals court, but the case rolls on.
Stateless people can become citizens
A law is enacted that allows citizenship to be issued to 4,000 "foreigners",
which is a paraphrase for the over 100,000 stateless Arabs living in Kuwait for
several decades (see Population and Languages).
Prison sentences for twittering
Two men are each sentenced to two years in prison for insulting Kuwait's emir
in Twitter messages. Both have criticized the country's political leadership.