Kuwait investigating plan to extract shale gas - source

KUWAIT, April 10 (Reuters) - Kuwait is investigating a plan

to extract shale gas from its northern fields, a Kuwaiti oil

sector official said on Wednesday, estimating that the Gulf Arab

state could produce 150-200 million cubic feet per day under the

right conditions.

OPEC member Kuwait is a major oil producer, with a capacity

of 3 million barrels of oil per day. However its gas production

is relatively low and it depends in part on gas imports to serve

its energy needs.

The official, who spoke to Reuters on the condition of

anonymity, said that if Kuwait goes ahead with the plan it would

work with a company specialised in shale gas production, without

giving further details.

Kuwait's state-owned oil company Kuwait Petroleum Corp was

not immediately available for comment.

Production will depend on the technology available "because

our main problem is that the (gas) reservoir is complex...and

this layer is the most complex," the official said, referring to

the part containing shale gas.

The official declined to give a time frame for when

production could start, saying that there have only been

discussions so far.

Neighbour Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter,

has begun investigating its large unconventional deposits and

their potential for fuelling long-term growth for its booming

population.

It has been inspired by a shale gas surge in the United

States, which has transformed the country from the world's

largest gas importer into a budding exporter.

(Reporting by Ahmed Hagagy; editing by Keiron Henderson)