State energy firm Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) has extended the deadline for technical and commercial proposals on a deal to build a major series of oil and gas pipelines across the country by one month.

Contractors have been given until 20 April to hand in their bids. They were originally due to submit proposals for the estimated $2bn deal on 21 March, but a number of firms asked for up to eight more weeks to prepare.

The bidding contractors would have struggled to meet the original deadline as many had also recently worked on bids for a deal being tendered by Kuwait National Petroleum Company’s (KNPC) covering a new gas fractioning column at the Mina al-Ahmadi refinery, says an executive at one firm.

Bidders for the KOC deal include Daelim Corporation, GS Engineering & Construction, SK Engineering & Construction, all of South Korea, and Italy’s Saipem.

The winning firm will build a series of pipelines running from the Mina al-Ahmadi refinery to power plants across the country. These will include low sulphur pipelines. The Mina al-Ahmadi refinery is approximately 45km south of Kuwait City. The pipelines will provide feedstock to power plants at Doha East and West, Subiya, Shuaiba and Al-Zour.

The deal is broken down into two phases. The first phase involves the installation of three 48-inch pipelines, and one 40-inch pipeline. The second phase includes the construction of a pumping station and metering systems.

KOC has also extended the deadline for an estimated $70-100m contract to build high pressure crude oil pipelines in northern Kuwait by more than a month to 27 April from 23 March. KOC decided to push back the deadline for undisclosed reasons. The project has been subject to a series of delays since it was first tendered in May 2009.