Representatives from the consortium, made up of South Koreas Hyundai E&C, Italys Saipem, and Indias Essar, met with CTC officials on 11 February.
According to a source close to the discussions the consortium was asked to give reasons for the consortiums bid of $1.55bn, nearly twice the $850m budgeted for the package.
Consortium representatives said that the current budget for the project dates back to 2007 and does not take into account changes to the scope of the project or increases in labour and materials costs, according to the source.
The contract for the marine package, which is also known as package five, is scheduled to be awarded in early May, but insiders are expecting delays due to the low bid coming in higher than the estimated budget.
If the low-bidding consortium wins the contract it will be responsible for construction of a harbour, including a sulphur pelletising and conveying system, subsea outfall lines and an offshore island capable of birthing tankers.
US-based McDermott, Koreas Daewoo, and Britains Petrofac were also contacted by Kuwaits CTC.
They were asked why they did not submit a bid on the project after prequalifying.
The second and third-lowest bidders were not questioned by CTC, according to the source.
The full bidders list on package five is:
- Hyundai E&C / Saipem / Essar, KD454m ($1.55bn)
- GS Engineering and Construction (South Korea), KD459m ($1.56bn)
- Daelim Industrial (South Korea), KD720m ($2.45bn)
Earlier this month, the bid deadline for the Al-Zour New Refinery Project packages one, two and three was extended until 10 March.
The Al-Zour scheme is one of several Kuwaiti oil and gas projects that have seen delays during the tendering process over recent weeks.