State refiner Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) has asked project management consultancies to confirm their availability to bid before tenders are released for the planned $15bn New Refinery Project (NRP) at Al-Zour.

In the first sign that the delayed project will move ahead, KNPC sent letters to at least four firms in early September, according to a source close to the project.

These include:

  • Technip (France)
  • Worley Parsons (Australia)
  • Amec (UK)
  • Fluor (US)

KNPC has a number of contracts with firms to provide in-house design and management services, but with a deal on the scale of the 615,000 barrel-a-day (b/d) NRP, the company would expect to sign a new contract, says one source in the country.

KNPC has had to wait for the SPC before it can launch tenders for a major overhaul of its refining sector, raising the quality of its products, as well as increasing capacity to 1.4 million b/d from 800,000 b/d currently.

After a delay of more than a year, Kuwait’s Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC), the country’s highest oil sector decision-making body approved plans for the NRP and Clean Fuels Project (CFP) on 27 June. The two schemes are worth an estimated $30bn (MEED 1:7:11).

Officials at KNPC said in May the construction of the 615,000 barrels a day (b/d) fourth refinery will be prioritised. It plans to tender nine separate engineering, procurement and construction packages for its planned retender of the $15bn NRP. Five contracts were awarded in 2008, but were cancelled in 2009 before construction had begun. Tenders could be launched now by mid-2012.