State refiner Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) plans to launch tenders in December for an estimated $700m deal to build new sulphur handling facilities at the Mina al-Ahmadi refinery.

At least 16 international and local engineering and construction firms attended a meeting on 28 September where KNPC explained the scope of the scheme.

Prequalification documents will be available in October and a single tender for the project could be released as early as December this year.  A contract would then be awarded by the middle of 2012, says a source close to the project.

The scope of work will include revamping KNPC’s three existing sulphur production units to produce approximately 3,000 tonnes a day (t/d), as well as building and installing five new units. Total production will be increased to 6,000 t/d. Liquid sulphur will be granulated for easy handling and storage before being loaded on to ships for export.

It will also include the expansion of the current loading terminal, warehousing and storage facilities. The entire scope would be handled by one firm, although marine works could be sub-contracted.

Germany’s ThyssenKrupp completed the front-end engineering and design (feed) for the facility in mid-September (MEED 30:9:11).

Kuwait currently refines 936,000 barrels a day of crude at three refineries producing around 850,000 tonnes a year (t/y) of sulphur. The state plans to raise sulphur production to more than 2 million t/y by 2015.