Kuwait and Bahrain to sign aromatics plant deal

20 April 2017

Deal would be the second such partnership for Kuwait this year

Kuwait and Bahrain will sign a partnership agreement next month to develop a joint aromatics complex in the kingdom, according to Kuwait’s Oil Minister.

Speaking with MEED, Essam al-Marzouk said both countries are likely sign on an external partner to develop the facility.

“We’re signing the project next month and we’re starting the study,” he added.

“We always prefer to have an external partner rather than just us and the country hosting the project. We’re looking right now for someone from outside other than us, like a Korean company or a Japanese company,” he added.

The development of the estimated $1.5bn by Kuwait’s Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC) and Bahrain’s National Oil and Gas Authority was revived last year by both countries - two years after signing a preliminary agreement.

As per the initial plans, the facility is to be located near Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco) would have a capacity of 1.44 million tonnes. Bapco has also completed front end engineering study on the project. MEED reported that the facility will be expected to choose an EPC contractor by June 2017.

The plant would produce “ethylene glycol, ethylene and more products”, said Al-Marzouk.

Financing for the project would be in the ratio of 70:30 equity to external finance, he added.

The aromatics plant will be integrated with the Bapco refinery from where it will receive feedstock, according to Bahraini oil minister Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al-Khalifa.

“There are some compounds that might contribute to the aromatics industry. We’re trying to be the largest producer in this regard,” he said at a conference in Abu Dhabi.

Kuwait recently signed an agreement with Oman to develop the 230,000 barrels-a-day (b/d) Duqm Refinery in joint venture partnership.

MEED reported that the refinery was looking for more partners, and was leaning towards East Asian firms.

The development of the multi-billion dollar refinery at Duqm is the sultanate’s largest single-phase project. It also marked the first intra-GCC collaboration on a downstream project of such scale.

The closure of Kuwait’s 200,000 b/d Shuaiba refinery has necessitated the Opec producer to look externally to develop such projects. MEED reported recently that PIC was putting its Shuaiba fertilisers plant sale, as part of its long-term plan to sell its fertiliser assets, which struggled to operate due to short supply of gas.

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