Two deputy managing directors, the second highest position in the company, have retired. Abdul-mohsen Khaja leaves his job running the Mina Abdullah refinery, to be replaced by Mohammed Mutairi, operations manager at Mina Ahmadi, the state’s largest refinery.

Usama al-Eissa, deputy managing director for planning and local marketing, is also retiring. Bakhit al-Rashid, formerly the corporate planning manager, will take over.

The changes come as Al-Zanki starts his term as the new KNPC boss following his transfer from state upstream operator Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), which he headed for three years. His predecessor, Sami al-Rashid, swapped jobs with him, taking the helm at KOC (MEED 12:10:07).

The changes come at a crucial time for KNPC. Its main task is to award the multi-billion-dollar new refinery project at Al-Zour. But it will also have to start prequalifying and tendering its $4bn clean fuels project to upgrade its three existing refineries. Of the two, the estimated $14bn new refinery is the more imminent. More than 15 groups are preparing to bid for the four main process packages. The original deadline of 16 December has been pushed back, at the prospective bidders’ request, to 26 December. Given the size of each of the engineering, procurement and construction contracts, the tight deadline could be pushed back further.

There has been an additional change in the scheme as the former head of the project, Ahmed al-Jemaz, has been promoted to deputy managing director for the Shuaiba refinery. He replaces Hussein Ismail, who was promoted to chairman and managing director of Kuwait Petroleum International.

The government has yet to find a replacement for former oil minister Bader al-Humaidhi, who was forced to resign on 5 November after just eight days in the job, following an request by the National Assembly (parliament) to question him (MEED 9:11:07).