x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Kuwait police foils oil smuggling operation

Kuwait's police have uncovered a plan to smuggle 2.5 million litres of subsidised diesel and arrested 25 people in connection with the scheme, according to its interior ministry.

KUWAIT CITY // Kuwait's police have uncovered a plan to smuggle 2.5 million litres of subsidised diesel and arrested 25 people in connection with the scheme, the interior ministry said.

The diesel was found in tanks and containers at several stores in the southern oil-rich industrial area of Mina Abdullah, the ministry said in a statement cited by the official KUNA news agency.

Fuel in Kuwait is sold at a heavily-subsidised price that has not changed for about 12 years.

Local media and lawmakers from the recently dissolved parliament have claimed that large quantities cheaper Kuwaiti fuel are frequently smuggled by sea to Iran and Iraq.

Although both countries are major oil producers, Iran and Iraq face shortages in petroleum products because of limited refining capacity.

About three weeks ago, Kuwaiti customs said it foiled an attempt to smuggle roughly 350 tonnes of diesel to an unnamed Asian country.

In June last year, media reported that authorities uncovered a ring linked to a regional intelligence service that had smuggled large quantities of fuel to a neighbouring country from a small port usually used by Iranians.