State upstream operator Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) has extended the bid deadline of the tender for the $4.2bn Lower Fars heavy oil development in the north of the country.

Bids were to be submitted by the four consortiums bidding for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract by 15 June, but this has now been extended to 15 July. The original deadline was January 26.

The single EPC tender includes five main parts covering a steam injection facility, production facilities, a support complex, tank farms and a 270,000 barrel-a-day (b/d) pipeline to transport the heavy crude to the planned new refinery in the south of Kuwait.

The consortiums bidding on the scheme are:

  • SK Engineering & Construction/Daelim Industrial (South Korea)
  • Petrofac/Consolidated Contractors Company (UK/Athens-based)
  • Saipem/Hyundai Heavy industries (Italy/South Korea)
  • GS Engineering & Construction/Hyundai Engineering & Construction/Dodsal Group (South Korea/UAE)

Australia’s WorleyParsons has been appointed as the project management consultant for the heavy oil deal, although a contract value has not been announced.

Spread over 1,200 square kilometres in Kuwait’s northern desert, the Lower Fars reservoir contains between 7 billion and 15 billion barrels of oil. The crude is heavy, with a gravity ranging from 17 API to as low as 11, compared with Kuwait’s regular crude blends, which have an average gravity of about 30 API. It is also highly viscous, in the range of 200 to 1,000 centipoise (CP).

To address this, the project will use the cyclic steam stimulation (CSS) technique, where steam is injected into the reservoir to heat the highly viscous oil, making it easier to pump to the surface.