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Kuwait cuts back oil production

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KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait (CNN) -- Kuwait began cutting back oil field operations in the northern part of the country Saturday after closing the area to civilians in anticipation of a U.S.-led war against Iraq.

Kuwait's interior minister said there was no need to evacuate expatriates because of the new security measures.

Sheikh Mohammed Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah said while Kuwait is also deploying special forces on the country's main highways, the precautions were routine and do not mean there is any immediate danger.

Workers who normally operate rigs in the northern part of the country will be transferred to other oil fields and production will be increased to compensate for the loss of oil not being pumped in the north, according to oil field officials. No figures were released.

Oil field equipment was being loaded aboard trucks Saturday and transported south toward oil fields in southern Kuwait.

The interior ministry announced last week that the northern half of the country would be declared a closed military zone on Saturday.

Kuwaitis who have tent camps in the northern territories, camel herders, and workers on farms near the Iraqi border were told to evacuate.

There are 73,000 U.S. troops in Kuwait, most of them in the northern part of the country, with more arriving daily.

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