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Global oil demand growth to exceed 1 mil b/d by 2017: Kuwait minister

Dubai — Kuwaiti oil minister Ali al-Omair expects global crude demand growth to exceed 1 million b/d by 2017 and for the economy to absorb the current 1.2 million b/d surplus.

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"We expect additional demand exceeding 1 million b/d by the end of 2016," Omair told local press outside parliament late Tuesday.

OPEC's Gulf Arab members have been upbeat about the prospects for oil demand and were critical to the group's June 5 decision to maintain the 30 million b/d ceiling until the end of the year.

The cap has been in place since the beginning of 2012.

Omair was also positive about the prospects for Kuwait's own production capacity increase plans, pointing out that the Supreme Petroleum Council, the highest hydrocarbon policy body in the country, had allocated $60 billion for oil projects.

These would include two giant downstream projects -- the clean fuels project and Al-Zour refinery -- as well as heavy oil developments, new oil gathering centers and gas ventures.

Kuwait is engaged in an aggressive exploration, drilling and construction campaign to meet a national strategic goal of increasing crude oil production capacity from about 3.5 million to 4 million b/d by 2020, and maintaining that level through 2030.

--Adal Mirza,
--Edited by Meghan Gordon,