KUWAIT CITY, March 7 (UPI) -- Kuwait Monday announced the discovery of commercial quantities of natural gas and a new light oil, the Washington Post reported.
"We have found ... for the first time in Kuwait very encouraging quantities of gas," the Post quoted Kuwaiti Energy Minister Sheik Ahmed Fahd al-Ahmed al-Sabah as saying.
Kuwait, which is an oil-rich, gas-poor nation, originally began natural gas exploration efforts in the late 1970s, but the first commercial-quantity discoveries of high-quality oil came this year.
The recent discoveries, in the fields of Umm Niqa, Sabriyah and Northwest Rawdatain, hold approximately 35 trillion cubic feet of gas, of which between 60 and 70 percent is recoverable, al-Sabah said.
Khaled al-Sumaiti, deputy CEO of the state-owned Kuwait Oil Co., told the Post: "Initial estimates suggest we can cover Kuwait's gas needs, especially for generating electrical power and use in petrochemical industries."
In addition to the natural gas find, al-Sabah said, the fields at Bahra and Rawdatain had revealed between 10 and 13 billion barrels of a light crude oil, easier to refine than the heavy crude traditionally produced by Kuwait.
This new discovery adds 10 percent to Kuwait's known oil reserves.