Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Eye on Kuwait

So Kuwait went and held an election, and even (shocker!) let women vote. In separate polling places.

The interesting thing this time is the same thing - the only thing - that's ever interesting about Kuwait: the implications for global energy supplies. As you may recall, many of the OPEC nations upped their states estimates in the 1980s to increase their production quotas.

Well the Kuwaiti opposition - who now control the Parliament (the wonders of a monarchy!) are demanding that Kuwait offer an honest accounting of its oil reserves. On top of that, they're demanding that Kuwait's oil export be no more than 1% of proven reserves. Taken together, these two policy changes would mean that Kuwait's oil exports would be cut in half, if the skeptics are right about Kuwaiti oil supplies.

The other interesting aspect is that the government (the royal family) has been pushing a plan to liberalize foreign investment in Kuwait's oil fields, in an attempt to increase output. Both the means and the end are opposed by the new Parliamentary majority.

Finally, it's worth noting that Kuwait is a major logistical base for the US occupation of Iraq, so the election of a nationalist, Islamic Parliament is... important.

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