State-refiner, Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) has opened bids for two project management consultancy (PMC) deals for its planned $30bn expansion and overhaul its downstream sector.

Separate proposals were submitted by five international engineering firms for the estimated $16.5bn Clean Fuels Project (CFP) and the $15bn New Refinery Project (NRP), according to sources close to the project.

Australia’s WorlyParsons submitted the lowest price for both projects, with an estimated KD129m ($459m) bid for the CFP and $128m for the NRP.

The US’ Foster Wheeler, the UK’s Amec, France’s Technip and Fluor, also of the US all submitted rival proposals for both project management deals.

While the price of bids is usually a key determining factor, given the combined size of the two schemes, sources say it is unlikely that KNPC will award the firm both contracts. It is also unclear which of the two projects will be prioritised as there are concerns over Kuwait’s ability to handle them as the same time.

The prequalification process for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts for the two projects have been pushed back to 7 August and further delays are expected. This is just the latest in a series of setbacks due to political discussions between the government and parliament. The projects are part of Kuwait’s plans to increase refining capacity to 1.4 million barrels-a-day (b/d) from 956,000 b/d currently.