Kuwaiti oil production has been cut in half as the country’s oil workers continue an open-ended strike.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Kuwait’s crude production fell by more than 50 percent on Sunday after thousands of oil workers began an open-ended strike to protest government plans to reduce wages and benefits.

The proposed wage cuts are intended to help oil-rich Kuwait cope with low energy prices.

State-owned Kuwait Oil Company said in a social media post that the country’s output dropped to 1.1 million barrels per day, down from an average level of about 3 million bpd.

Oil ministry spokesman Sheikh Talal al-Khaled said exports remain normal and production is “on the rise,” the Wall Street Journal said.

The Kuwait News Agency said Kuwait’s cabinet has asked the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation to “take all necessary measures” to ensure production continues without disruption.

The country’s cabinet added that the strike is illegal because it has serious impacts on the public interest, the Kuwait News Agency said.

Kuwaiti OPEC representative Mohammed Al Shatti told Bloomberg on Sunday that negotiations with the striking workers is continuing.

OPEC members failed to sign a production freeze agreement after meeting in Doha this weekend, briefly pushing oil prices down to about $40 per barrel.

Saudi Arabia is also weighing cost cuts to deal with the financial strain of low oil prices.

Saudi Arabia is gearing up to announce a new reform plan designed to help the kingdom reduce its reliance on oil revenues.

According to Reuters, the plan will include asset sales, tax increases, spending cuts, a drive for greater efficiency, a larger role for private sector companies and changes to the way the government manages financial reserves.

OPEC is scheduled to meet again on June 2 in Vienna.


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