State downstream operator Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) has pushed back the deadlines for bids to build the $14bn Al-Zour refinery after prequalified companies asked for more time.

In June, when the tenders for packages one, two and three were issued, the closing date for submissions was 26 October. Now the bid deadline is 13 January 2015.

The first package’s scope is the main process units, including the crude distillation unit (CDU), atmospheric residue desulphurisation unit (ARD), hydrothermal upgrading units (HTUs) and the saturate gas plant, while the second covers the support process units and the third is for the project’s utilities and offsites.

Despite the extension, plans to bring the New Refinery Project (NRP) online are still on track according to KNPC CEO Mohammed Ghazi aAl-Mutairi.

“We are targeting April 2015 to sign the contracts for Al-Zour,” he told Reuters.

“Our plan is to increase our refining capacity to 1.415 million barrels a day (b/d) by mid-2019. Today we are at 930,000 b/d, so it is a big jump.”

MEED reported in May that the prequalified consortiums for packages one, two and three are:

Packages four and five were meant to see bids submitted by 14 September, but this was delayed in August to 9 November.

Five companies have prequalified for package four, which covers the construction of the tank farm:

Package five is for the construction of marine facilities and saw the following entities prequalify:

The latest delay to the New Refinery Project comes after a string of problems and postponements. The project has been tendered twice before, only to be awarded and cancelled before construction could begin.

The new refinery is key to the country’s hopes of meeting growing power demand. The 615,000 barrel-a-day (b/d) facility will supply 225,000 b/d of low-sulphur fuel oil for power generation. The scheme will be one of the largest single-phase refineries ever built.