Kuwait awards $12-billion oil project

Delayed because of political disputes

KUWAIT CITY - Kuwait National Petroleum Co said Monday it has awarded a $12-billion project to British, US and Japanese-led consortia to boost capacity at oil refineries and make production more environmentally friendly.
Work on the three-part project for KNPC to upgrade refineries while reducing sulphur and carbon pollutants is expected to start in April and be completed in five years.
The Mina Abdullah I project was awarded to a consortium led by Britain's Petrofac at $3.8 billion, Mina Abdullah II to US Fluor-led consortium for $3.4 billion, while Mina Al-Ahmadi went to Japan's JGC Corp-led consortium for $4.8 billion, KNPC spokesman Khaled al-Assousi told AFP.
Assousi said he expected the contracts to be signed within the next six weeks and work to commence in April.
The current production capacity of the two refineries of Mina Al-Ahmadi and Mina Abdullah is around 730,000 barrels per day, while the capacity of Kuwait's third refinery at Shuaiba is 200,000 bpd.
At the end of the projects, the capacity of the two refineries will be raised to 800,000 bpd, while Kuwait plans to shut the third refinery.
Kuwait is soon also expected to award contracts for a state-of-the-art refinery with a capacity of 615,000 bpd expected to come onstream after five years.
Kuwait's refining capacity will reach over 1.4 million bpd from the existing capacity of 930,000 bpd, when all the projects are completed.
The plans have been repeatedly delayed because of political disputes between parliament and the government.
The project to build a new refinery was scrapped by the government around five years ago, months after five Japanese and South Korean companies were awarded contracts.
MPs had opposed the plan complaining of a lack of transparency in the tendering process.