Resumption of oil shipments this weekend is the first good news from Kuwait since its liberation by allied troops last February. Nearly half the 600 oil well fires set by Iraqi soldiers are out, with 15 more extinguished each week. Slowly the facilities are being restored.
Kuwait's export resumption will start small at 140,000 barrels a day, rising to 400,000 barrels by New Year's, much less than the 2 million barrels daily before Iraq's invasion last August. It nonetheless symbolizes the start of a return to normal, both for the oil industry worldwide and for Kuwait as a city-state with a life and a purpose.
Kuwait's resumption of production coincides with United Nations Security Council consideration of permitting oil exports from Iraq, under supervision, to pay for food, medicine and repair of infrastructure. The return of these two entrants would signal to OPEC members who increased exports after the world boycott of Iraqi and Kuwaiti oil last August, that it is time to end their windfalls and return to normal production.