As Western Oil Giants Cut Production, State-Owned Companies Step Up

Kuwait announced last month it would invest more than $ 6 billion in exploration over the next five years to increase production from its current 2.4 million barrels to four million barrels a day.

The United Arab Emirates, a major OPEC member producing four million barrels of oil every day, made this month the first Arabian Gulf state to commit to a net-zero carbon emissions target by 2050. But just last year, Adnoc, the UAE’s national oil company, announced it would invest $ 122 billion in new oil and gas projects.

Iraq, OPEC’s second largest producer after Saudi Arabia, has invested heavily in recent years to increase oil production, with the goal of increasing production from the current five million to eight million barrels per day by 2027. The country suffers from political unrest, power shortages, and inadequate ports, but the government has made several large deals with overseas oil companies to help the state-owned energy company develop new fields and improve production from old ones.

Even in Libya, where belligerent groups have paralyzed the oil industry for years, production is increasing. 1.3 million barrels a day have been produced in the past few months, a nine-year high. The government plans to increase this amount to 2.5 million barrels a day within six years.

National oil companies in Brazil, Colombia and Argentina are also working to produce more oil and gas to increase revenue for their governments before demand for oil declines as richer countries reduce fossil fuel consumption.

After years of frustrating disappointments, production at the Vaca Muerta or Dead Cow oil and gas field in Argentina has skyrocketed this year. The field had never delivered more than 120,000 barrels of oil in a day, but is now set to end the year at 200,000 barrels a day, according to Rystad Energy, a research and consulting firm. The government, which is considered to be the climate leader in Latin America, has proposed a law to encourage even more production.

“Argentina is concerned about climate change, but doesn’t see it primarily as its responsibility,” said Lisa Viscidi, an energy expert at Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington research organization. Describing the Argentine point of view, she added: “The rest of the world needs to reduce oil production worldwide, but that doesn’t mean that we need to change our behavior in particular.”

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