Consultants line up to prequalify for Kuwait heavy oil deal

16 January 2013

Kuwait Oil Company will use cyclic steam simulation at Lower Fars

State upstream operator Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) has received prequalification documents from international engineering consultants for the design of heavy oil facilities in the north of the country.

KOC invited firms to prequalify for the Lower Fars heavy oil development on 30 November 2012, setting a deadline of 2 January, before extending it to 16 January.

No details on the number of firms who submitted documents has so far been revealed.

KOC will now draw up a shortlist of specialist consultants to bid for the contract, which includes detailed engineering, as well as technical support during procurement, construction, commissioning, startup and turnover of facilities using cyclic steam stimulation (CSS).

Evaluations are expected to be completed by May, according to sources close to the project.

The heavy oil development is a landmark scheme worth an estimated $7bn. It will be split into five main packages: a steam injection facility, central processing facility, production support complex, a tank farm and a 270,000 barrel-a-day (b/d) pipeline, which will transport heavy crude oil to the planned new refinery in the south of Kuwait.

Under the CSS technique, steam is injected into a reservoir to heat the viscous oil before being pumped to the surface. The Lower Fars reservoir contains particularly viscous oil with a gravity of between 11 and 17 American Petroleum Institute (API). By contrast, Kuwait’s regular crude blends have an average gravity of around 30 API.

KOC expects to increase heavy oil production to 60,000 b/d by 2017 and gradually up to 270,000 b/d by 2030. Pilot trials with the CSS technique are already in place.

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