Kuwait: Does Ministerial Shake-Up Indicate A Firm Stance?

Kuwait Acting Oil Minister Anas al-Salih represented his country at the 4 December Opec meeting, just days after being handed the portfolio. He also remains finance minister for the time being.

His predecessor, ‘Ali al-‘Umair, was dismissed on 29 November: though no reason was given, Mr ‘Umair had been under growing pressure following an abortive attempt to implement a reshuffle at state firm KPC (MEES, 27 November). This was criticized by both KPC and a host of MPs. Mr ‘Umair retains his role as state minister for parliamentary affairs.

Mr Salih has been minister of finance since January 2014. He becomes Kuwait’s fourth oil minister in less than three years. However, the revolving door at the ministry has little impact on policy, which is set by the Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC). It does however underline Kuwait’s continued political volatility – a deterrent for IOCs. That said, the government can be said to have acted to avert damaging conflict between the ministry and KPC, rather than letting the dispute fester and undermine efforts to rejuvenate the oil sector. (CONTINUED - 266 WORDS)