Kuwait Energy and Environment Facts

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.

  • COUNTRYAAH: 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. Visit itypeusa for more information about 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 supply.

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 environmentally friendly.


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 case.

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 procedural issues.


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.

Kuwait Energy and Environment Facts

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