Kuwait’s Central Tenders Committee (CTC), the body that oversees contract awards in the country, has told engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors that it is waiting for details on the delay to the Lower Fars Heavy Oil (LFHO) development project.

“CTC has told contractors it is still waiting to hear from Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) to give details about how long the project award is going to be delayed for, and what the reason is for the delay,” said a person with knowledge of the tendering process that asked to remain anonymous, because they are not authorised to speak to the media.

In early December, contractors were told that the phase one contract would not be awarded this year, just days after Mohammed al-Abduljaleel, KOC’s manager of capital project planning, told the MEED Kuwait Projects Conference the contract award would be made withing the month.

He said the deal would be awarded before the end of the year and would be signed by February 2015, with commissioning due to start in August 2018.

The LFHO development project is targeting large heavy oil reserves of approximately 7 billion to 15 billion barrels located in a desert area in the north of Kuwait.

Bids for the EPC contract for the first phase of the project were submitted on 15 July, with the UK’s Petrofac offering the low bid of $4.3bn.

The other bidders were:

The single EPC tender is for the first phase of the project’s development and includes the construction of a steam injection facility, production facilities, a support complex, tank farms and a 270,000 barrel-a-day (b/d) pipeline to transport the heavy crude to the planned new refinery at Al-Zour in the south of Kuwait.