With a surge of recent awards, KNPC is Kuwaits most active client
Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) is the organisation responsible for Kuwaits downstream oil and gas operations. Established in 1960, it was the first state-owned downstream operator in the region, building the Shuaiba refinery, which began production in 1968, and expanding it to 180,000 barrels a day (b/d) by 1975.
The firms activities grew when it took ownership of the US-built Mina Abdullah refinery in 1978. The states third refinery, Mina al-Ahmadi, was passed over to KNPC from Kuwait Oil Company as part of the sectoral restructure in 1980. This restructure also saw the creation of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation as a holding company for all of the state energy companies.
Today KNPC is led by chief executive Mohammed Ghazi al-Mutairi, a long-term employee of KNPC and a chemical engineer, who joined the organisation in 1987 and has worked at all three of its refineries. A surge of contract awards in 2014 and 2015 are sure to keep him occupied as construction gets under way on the long-awaited Al-Zour refinery and the enormous upgrade project for Mina Abdullah and Mina al-Ahmadi, a scheme also known as the Clean Fuels Programme.
Five EPC contracts worth $13bn were signed [on the Al-Zour refinery scheme] this October
Regional projects tracker MEED Projects estimates that the company has projects of about $40bn planned or under way, and $34.6bn of these are under execution, making the company the most active client in Kuwait.
The highest-profile project under development by KNPC today is the 615,000-b/d Al-Zour refinery scheme, which was first announced in 2005. After years of delays and false starts, five engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts worth $13bn were signed this October. The winners of packages one, two, three and five, worth a total of $11.5bn, were named on 28 July by Kuwaits Central Tenders Committee, but the final contract signing was made in October.
|Key KNPC projects|
|Project||Budget ($m)||Status||Award year||Due|
|Clean Fuels Project 2020: Mina Abdulla (package 1)||5,300||Execution||2014||2018|
|Clean Fuels Project 2020: Mina Abdulla (package 2)||5,300||Execution||2014||2018|
|Clean Fuels Project 2020: Mina al-Ahmadi (package 3)||4,700||Execution||2014||2019|
|New Refinery Project: process plant (package 1)||3,550||Execution||2015||2019|
|LNG import and regasification terminal||3,315||Main contract bid||2016||2021|
|New Refinery Project: process plant (package 2)||3,000||Execution||2015||2019|
|New Refinery Project: utilities and offsites (package 3)||3,000||Execution||2015||2019|
|Mina al-Ahmadi refinery: gas fractionation train 5||1,500||Execution||2015||2018|
|Mina al-Ahmadi North LPG tank farm||1,200||Execution||2011||2016|
|New Refinery Project: tankage (package 4)||1,100||Execution||2015||2019|
|LNG=Liquefied natural gas; LPG=Liquefied petroleum gas. Source: MEED Projects|
Package one consists of a process plant and has been awarded to a joint venture of Spains Technicas Reunidas, Chinas Sinopec Engineering and South Koreas Hanwha Engineering & Construction (E&C). Packages two and three were won by a joint venture of the US Fluor, and South Korean firms Hyundai Heavy Industries and Daewoo Engineering. Package five comprises marine facilities and was awarded to a consortium of South Koreas Hyundai E&C with SK E&C and Italys Saipem.
The final EPC contract was awarded to a consortium of Italys Saipem and Indias Essar. However, it may not all be plain sailing from here as the project is situated in the Divided Zone shared with Saudi Arabia, and a dispute over land use remains one of the biggest issues yet to be resolved for Kuwaits energy industry.
To date, more progress has been made on the $15.5bn Clean Fuels Project aimed at upgrading and expanding the Mina Abdullah and Mina Al-Ahmadi refineries. This is the largest programme in the KNPC portfolio. The programme will upgrade the facilities, retire the existing Shuaiba refinery, and take production capacity at Mina Abdullah and Mina al-Ahmadi to 800,000 b/d from 736,000 b/d today.
Contracts worth $12bn were awarded in 2014 for the three main packages, two concerning Mina Abdullah and a single $4.8bn package for Mina al-Ahmadi. Construction began in January, and in July MEED reported that the scheme was 27 per cent complete.
Another major contract, to build a new $3.3bn liquefied natural gas (LNG) import and regasification terminal, is in the tender phases with 13 contractors prequalified to bid for the project. In September, MEED reported that the bid deadline had been pushed back into November after two bidders requested more time.
According to KNPCs plans, the LNG regasification terminal will have a capacity of 1.5 trillion BTUs a day and will include two berths for the simultaneous unloading of large LNG carriers. The terminal will also include four full-containment LNG tanks.