Kuwait has issued a tender for an estimated $280m engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract to build a major, new cross-country pipeline from the north of the country to central Kuwait.

The contract covers the expansion of a crude oil manifold in the north of the country and the construction of a 120-kilometre, 30-inch pipeline from the manifold to a second gathering and distribution point in central Kuwait.

Official documents seen by MEED say that contractors have been asked to collect tender data outlining the deal on 1 November. State oil and gas operator Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) has set a 31 January 2010 deadline for bidding on the deal.

KOC has prequalified 21 international construction firms to bid on the deal, which is worth an estimated KD80m ($280m).

Five South Korean firms are eligible for the deal: Hyundai Engineering & Construction, Hyundai Heavy Industries, SK Engineering & Construction, and GS Engineering & Construction. Two Japanese firms, Chiyoda Corporation and JGC Corporation, are also prequalified

The Italian, German, and French wings of Paris based Technip are also prequalified separately as are the French and Italian arms of Italy’s Saipem. Another French firm, Entrepose Contracting, is prequalified as  are Canadian engineering firm SNC Lavalin, the UK’s Petrofac, Norway’s Aker Kvaerner, Germany’s Lurgi, Greece’s Joannou & Paraskevaides (Overseas), UAE-headquartere National Petroleum Construction Company, Turkey’s Tefken, and the US’ Washington Group International.

Two Indian firms, Larsen & Toubro and Engineers India Limited, are eligible to bid, as is Milan-headquartered Techint.

KOC has tendered a number of $100m-plus deals in 2009, although few have been awarded.  Most recently, Italy’s Saipem was awarded a $123m contract install three new gas compressors (MEED 22:10:09).