The precise scope of works for the estimated $500m-plus project is still unclear, but it is thought that it will require the construction of at least three main oil pipelines to the Al-Zour refinery, each one carrying a different type of crude as well as fuel-oil.

It is also unclear at this stage if the contract covers the construction of return pipelines transporting low-sulphur fuel-oil and liquefied petroleum gas back to the Mina al-Ahmadi refinery.

A total of 20 contractors are prequalified to bid as a main contractor for the lump-sum engineering, procurement and construction contract. They include Chiyoda Corporation and JGC Corporation, both of Japan, Bechtel and KBR, both of the US, Paris-based Technip, Italy’s Snamprogetti, UAE-based Petrofac International, and Hyundai Engineering & Construction Company, Daelim Industrial Company, and SK Engineering & Construction, all of South Korea.

In addition, 14 companies have been prequalified as a consortium partner. The list includes Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC), the UK’s Penspen, Turkey’s Tekfen and the US’ Wilbros.

A pre-tender meeting will be held on 29 June.

State refinery operator Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) recently awarded the main process packages on the $15bn Al-Zour refinery. While KNPC has responsibility for the scheme’s overall development, control of the supply pipelines falls under KOC’s charge.