Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) said it is going ahead with its long-delayed plan to build the Middle East's largest oil refinery despite political tensions that have stalled many economic development plans.
The government expects to announce next month the winner of the Al-Zour refinery's project management and consultancy (PMC) contract, a senior executive at KNPC told Reuters.
"The bids have been submitted and now we are in the evaluation phase...I expect the result to be out in August," the executive, who declined to be named under briefing rules, told Reuters.
Five international engineering firms submitted bids for the PMC contract, industry sources told Reuters: US-based Foster Wheeler and Fluor Corp, Australia's WorleyParsons, France's Technip and British-based Amec. The executive and a spokesman for KNPC declined to comment on the names of the bidders or the size of the contract.
Other contractors are due to prequalify by August 7 in order to bid for the project's engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts, the industry sources said.
If it goes ahead, the Al-Zour project could have an impact well beyond its monetary value, helping to restore confidence in Kuwait's economic management and the government's ability to get things done. Originally planned a decade ago, the project, which aims to provide fuel for power generation and water desalination facilities and export any excess, is estimated to cost around $14.5 billion. The refinery would process 615,000 barrels per day, coming online in 2018; it would exceed the capacity of the Middle East's largest refinery, Saudi Arabia's 550,000 bpd Ras Tanura plant.
But Al-Zour and many other plans have been held up by years of conflict between the cabinet, which is chosen by a prime minister who is appointed by the emir, and the National Assembly over allegations of corruption and mismanagement.
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(Originally published August 6, 2012, in Oil & Gas News.)