Kuwait's Biggest Companies

Kuwait is a small country with an oil based economy. The petroleum industry accounts for 90 percent of the country's GDP and its large oil reserves have made it one of the richest countries in the Arab world. Kuwait is the world's eleventh richest country on a per capita basis and it is the Arab country with the highest human development index. Its GDP is approximately 167.9 billion US dollars per year, with a per capita income of 81,800 US dollars. The economy in Kuwait continues to grow, with a GDP growth rate of about 5.7 percent. In addition to being one of the wealthiest countries in the Middle East, Kuwait also has one of the freest economies in the region and its stock exchange is the second largest in the Arab world.

The Kuwait Petroleum Corporation is the parent company of a number of companies that are involved in the petroleum industry in Kuwait, including the Kuwait Oil Company, which is responsible for the production of oil and gas and is one of the world's largest oil companies, the Kuwait National Petroleum Company which takes on the task of refining and selling domestically, Petrochemical Industries Company, which produces ammonia and urea, Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Industries Company, which has a number of concessions in the developing world, the Kuwait Oil Tanker Company and the Santa Fe International Corp, which was purchased by KPC in 1982. KPC also has shares in British Petroleum.

The Kuwait Oil Tankers Company is the most important shipping company in Kuwait. It owns 35 carriers for the transport of crude oil and refined petroleum products and it is the largest tanker company in any of the OPEC countries. This makes it a very important part of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation.

The petroleum industry is responsible for more than 95 percent of Kuwait's economy. The main focus of industry in Kuwait is on the export of petrochemicals and refining oil, but there are also a range of small manufacturing companies. Kuwait also has a number of large plants which are involved in the production of ammonia, fertilizer, blocks, bricks, cement and the desalinization of water. Kuwait is an arid country that obtains approximately 75 percent of is potable water by import or distillation. Desalinization is, therefore, one of the most important industries in Kuwait and the provision of water is one of the limiting factors on both agricultural and industrial development in the country.

A number of large banks and financial institutions are based in Kuwait, such as the Alahli Bank of Kuwait, Investment Dar and Adeem Investments. The focus on the oil industry in Kuwait is believed to have slowed development of the banking sector in this country, compared to some of the other countries in the Arab world.

Kuwait has played an important role in the economic development of the Arab world, often through the work of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, which is an autonomous institution that has provided important assistance to many Arab countries, including Jordan, Syria and Egypt, but which has also been important for developing countries outside the Arab world.

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