The plant, to be set up in the Shuaiba industrial area, will take 20 months to build. It will have a capacity to produce 300,000 tonnes a year of calcined coke and is estimated to cost at least $105 million. Petroleum coke, the feedstock for the proposed plant, will be sourced from the Mina Abdullah refinery.

‘Our mandate includes the appointment of a legal adviser, which will be done soon,’ says a GIH official. A technical consultant for the project is expected to be appointed by KPC.

A new project company, comprising private investors, will be set up to own and operate the proposed plant. ‘We expect to start prequalification of companies in early September. The successful bidder will construct the plant and fully own and operate it,’ the official says.

KPC has long had ambitions to build a calcined coke plant. In mid 2000, Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC), KPC’s downstream arm, invited four companies to submit bids for an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract covering the project (MEED 31:3:00).

South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering & Construction Company submitted a low bid of KD 32.6 million ($105 million) for the contract. The other bidders were South Korea’s SK Engineering & Construction, Australia’s Clough Engineeringand the German office of Paris-based Technip-Coflexip (MEED 27:10:00).

Hyundai was selected to carry out the contract, but never signed it due to its financial difficulties. KNPC then looked at tendering the proposed project on a build-operate (BO) basis.