State refiner Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) is planning to launch an infrastructure project in May to prepare for the proposed rehabilitation of its refineries.

The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract is worth an estimated $150m and includes water supply facilities, site preparation and access roads for KNPC’s long delayed Clean Fuels Project (CFP), according to a source close to the company.

Kuwait has planned to upgrade its existing refineries at Mina al-Ahmadi and nearby Mina Abdullah for more than a decade. The CFP will integrate the two refineries and retire the older Shuaiba refinery, which sits between them. The programme will allow the refineries to cope with the increasing sulphur content of Kuwait crudes and meet more stringent international fuel standards.

On 22 April, KNPC asked international EPC firms to submit documents by 13 June to prequalify to bid for three EPC deals worth an estimated $16.5bn. The process is expected to take two months to complete. Contractors say they expect tenders to be launched in November at the earliest.

The scheme is running in parallel with KNPC’s plans to build a new refinery at the port of Al-Zour in the south of Kuwait.