OREANDA-NEWS. Kuwait's oil unions will launch an open-ended, sector-wide strike on 17 April, as a dispute with the oil ministry over plans to reform wages and benefits reaches its crescendo.

The strike is unlikely to affect production or exports of crude in the near term as state-owned KPC's foreign workers, who will lose their jobs if they participate in the industrial action, will run operations during the strike. Kuwait's national guard may also help maintain operations.

But state-owned refiner KNPC will likely need to shut two of its three refineries, with one remaining on line to help meet local product demand. Although it is not yet clear which refineries will be shut in, oil product exports will likely be curtailed during this period.

Finance minister and acting oil minister Anas al-Saleh called on oil unions to negotiate with the government. A parliamentary committee is currently studying the draft law, which will reduce salaries and bonuses and restructure remuneration schemes across the public sector.