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Monday, 4 February, 2002, 18:15 GMT
Kuwaiti Government urged to resign
Kuwait Oil Company workers walk through the charred remains of Rawdatain booster station
The blast cut daily crude production by a third
Kuwaiti members of parliament have called for the resignation of the entire government following last week's explosion at an oil plant.

The government which made us get used to driving Chevrolet Caprices is now making us run back to ride Volkswagens and pick-up trucks

MP Abdullah al-Arada
Four workers were killed in the blast and oil production was severely disrupted.

Oil Minister Adel al-Subaih has already offered to resign but opposition MPs said that was not enough.

The blast at the Rawdatain plant, about 70 kilometres (40 miles) north of Kuwait City, was the third big accident in the country's oil industry in the past two years.

Vital commodity

It is still not known if Mr Al-Subaih's offer to resign has been accepted.

Adel al-Subaih
Oil Minister Adel al-Subaih has offered to resign
But MPs argued that a wholesale change in government was needed.

The government must "show solidarity with the (oil) minister and resign with him," Islamist MP Abdullah al-Arada told parliament in a debate on the blast. "If we lose the oil, the entire country is lost," he said.

But Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah told reporters the government would remain.

The accident, which injured 19 people, many seriously, cut the daily crude output by a third.

The state-owned Kuwait Oil Company said it would compensate for lost production by increasing output at other fields.

Mr Al-Subaih told parliament it could take up to a month to restore partial oil supplies from the north.

The explosion and fire at the plant was caused by an oil leak, officials said.

Several MPs said the frequency of such accidents - eight people died in two separate refinery accidents in 2000 - revealed corruption and mismanagement in state-run companies and government departments.

"The issue is that the entire country is out of control, a ship without a rudder," said MP Ahmad al-Rubae.

See also:

27 Feb 01 | From Our Own Correspondent
Kuwait's pampered economy
16 Dec 01 | Business
Opec calls special oil price talks
24 Mar 00 | World
The world's thirst for oil
27 Dec 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Kuwait
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