State-upstream operator Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) has invited international engineering firms to prequalify for a deal to design new facilities for the development of heavy oil in the north of the country.

Interested firms have been asked to submit prequalification documents by 2 January 2013 for the design of the Lower Fars heavy oil development programme.

Firms that wish to be considered for inclusion in KOC’s approved list of consultants can download the prequalification documents from 2 December.

The design consultancy deal covers facilities for the development of heavy oil using cyclic steam stimulation (CSS). Under the CSS technique, steam is injected into a reservoir to heat the viscous oil before being pumped to the surface. The Lower Fars reservoir contains particularly viscous oil with a gravity of between 11 and 17 American Petroleum Institute (API). By contrast Kuwait’s regular crude blends have an average gravity of around 30 API.

In early-2008, Saudi Arabia’s Al-Khorayef Commercial Company was awarded a contract to implement the Lower Fars pilot project (LFPP) to produce Kuwait’s first heavy oil with sand from the northern Ratqa field using a method known as cold heavy oil production with sand technique.

KOC expects to increase heavy oil production to 60,000 barrels a day (b/d) by 2017 and gradually up to 270,000 b/d by 2030. Pilot trials with the CSS technique are already in place.