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Gov''''t won''''t cover up or condone any irregularities in petroleum deals - Oil Min.

Minister of Oil Ali Al-Omair
Minister of Oil Ali Al-Omair

KUWAIT, April 6 (KUNA) -- Minister of Oil Ali Al-Omair underlined that the government will not condone or cover up any irregularities in petroleum sector deals and it will take all necessary action to protect public funds.
"We are interested in disclosing all information in our hands relative to the contract -signed between the state-owned Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) and Royal Dutch Shell- and in addressing any loopholes or irregularities if existed," Al-Omair said.
Al-Omair, also minister of state for National Assembly Affairs, was speaking to reporters following a special session held Sunday by the parliamentary Committee for the Protection of Public Funds to discuss the USD 800-million service contract.
He underlined that all information and documents relative to the contract were presented and reviewed by the State Audit Agency.
"Moreover, the scientific and technical benefits of the contract were huge. The deal helped Kuwait increase gas discoveries, production and reserves," he said.
The minister admitted that the initial value of the contract was very high, noting that only half of the allocated USD 800 million was paid to Shell so far.
He expressed readiness to cooperate with the MPs and to respect the decisions taken by the parliament in this regard to protect the state funds.
Al-Omair, however, said that his ministry will defend the stance of Kuwait Oil Company.
"We, in the petroleum sector, are responsible to provide protection and defense to our staff, especially in Kuwait Oil Company." He pointed out that KOC has reiterated that all legal procedures were followed in whole contract awarding process.
In response to a question about whether the contract was signed with Shell International or Shell Kuwait, the Minister said that the contract was signed by deputy chairman of Shell International.
Since its signature in February 2010, the five-year contract with Shell was the subject of much debate in Kuwait. The former parliament had formed a special committee to probe procedures leading to the awarding of the enhanced technical services agreement to Shell.
The contract was awarded to Shell to help Kuwait develop its newly-discovered non-associated natural gas fields in the north of the country, after initial production hurdles. (end) kt.ibi