Kuwait’s Central Tenders Committee (CTC) has approved South Korea’s Samsung Construction & Trading (C&T) for a major civil works contract, ahead of Kuwait’s long-awaited Clean Fuels Project (CFP) tender.

Samsung’s price of KD38.3m ($136.4m) was approved by the CTC, which monitors major public tenders on 3 December, less than two months after bids were submitted. A contract with state refiner Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) is now little more than a formality.

A total of seven engineering and construction firms submitted bids on 9 October.

The project is the first contract to be awarded as part of the preparation works for the CFP, which will upgrade and expand the Mina al-Ahmadi and Mina Abdullah refineries, along with the retirement of the aging Shuaiba refinery.

The estimated $18bn megaproject, which will be tendered in three packages, will increase the processing capacity of the Mina al-Ahmadi and Mina Abdulla refineries to 800,000 barrels a day (b/d) from 736,000 b/d by 2017, following the retirement of processing facilities at the Shuaiba refinery.

This will be Samsung C&T’s second EPC contract in 2012. In July, the firm signed a KD15.6m ($55.5m) deal, again with KNPC, to build a new tail gas treatment unit at the Mina al-Ahmadi refinery by the middle of 2014.

The firm has won an estimated $4.7bn worth of engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts over the past two years, including a $2.85bn deal to build the Qurayyah independent power plant.