US engineering firm Foster Wheeler has been awarded a contract by state-owned Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC) to study plans for an aromatics plant in Kuwait.

Foster Wheeler will complete a pre-feasibility study and a market report by the end of 2013, according to a 8 October press release.

No contract value has been disclosed.

The GCC region currently has a capacity of just over 10 million tonnes a year (t/y) of aromatics, representing 8 per cent of the region’s total petrochemicals capacity.

PIC established the Kuwait Aromatics Company (Karo) in 2005 as a joint venture with state refiner Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) and Qurain Petrochemical Industries Company (QPIC). The facility was commissioned in early 2009 and primarily produces 770,000 t/y of paraxylene and 330,000 t/y of benzene.

Another aromatics joint venture, Kuwait Styrene Company, was established by Karo and the US’ Dow Chemical  to produce 450,000 t/y of styrene.