Kuwait Oil Company will soon offer contracts for offshore rigs and support services to drill its first undersea wells as the Gulf nation tries to boost crude output to the highest level in more than four decades, Times of Oman reported.

Kuwait is targeting production of 3.165mb/d this year or in 2017, up from the current 3mb/d, CEO Jamal Jaafar said. “We are trying to make use of the low cost of production in Kuwait,” said Jaafar, whose company is the exploration and production arm of national energy group Kuwait National Petroleum Corporation (KNPC). Kuwait also has three refineries with a combined capacity of 930,000b/d.

He made the comments a day after fellow Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) member, Iraq, reported a record level of production and less than a week before some of the biggest oil-producing nations are to discuss freezing output to reduce a glut and shore up prices.

Kuwait and Iraq are among members of the Opec that plan to meet other major producers on April 17th in Doha for talks about a freeze.

Meanwhile, thousands of workers at Kuwait’s state-owned oil, gas and petrochemical companies announced that they would begin an open-ended strike on 17th April as a dispute over government plans to cut their benefits and wages continues, according to Middle East Monitor. Oil workers in the country fear cuts to jobs, salaries and benefits packages will come from a planned government overhaul of the public sector payroll system. They are also protesting plans to privatize part of the oil sector.

Production and exports would not be affected by the strike, Kuwait’s national oil company KNPC confirmed. Nonetheless, as The National informed, Kuwait is deploying national guard units to run and protect some oil facilities operations amid the strike.