The US’ Parsons Engineering Corporation signed a five-year project management contract with Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) on 21 September. The company offered a price of $84 million in the second round of bidding for the contract. The other bidders were Foster Wheeler Corporation and International Bechtel, both of the US. From mid-December, when its current contract with KOC expires, Parsons will be responsible for all new project developments at KOC, including the preparation and evaluation of tender documents. The company will assist KOC in boosting production capacity to 3.5 million b/d by 2005.

Prequalified contractors have until mid-December to submit bids to Kuwait Oil Company for two major enhanced oil recovery schemes. The first contract is for the construction of gathering centre 25 in the Rawdatain oil field; the second is for the construction and installation of new water-injection facilities at Rawdatain. The contracts are worth about $200 million each.

Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) signed a technical service agreement with the US’ Exxon in early October. Exxon will help KOC evaluate the Karaa al- Maruu discovery. In August, KOC renewed its technical service agreement with The British Petroleum Company (BP) after protracted negotiations. BP’s original contract expired in February. BP will provide technical assistance on oil production and field development until 1999. KOC also has technical service agreements with Royal Dutch/Shell Group and the US’ Chevron Corporation and Conoco.

Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) has announced the closure of its 59,000 b/d Stignaes refinery in Denmark. However, KPC is moving ahead with a $500 million deal with Italy’s Agip to take a 50 per cent stake in the 300,000-b/d Milazzo refinery in Sicily and purchase 330 of its Italian service stations. Italy’s anti-trust authority has yet to approve the deal.

Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) signed a $135 million contract with South Korea’s Sunkyong Engineering & Construction Company in mid- September to design and construct an acid gas removal plant at the Mina al-Ahmadi refinery. Work includes the design, procurement and installation of new process units with a capacity of 210 million standard cubic feet of gas and 44,000 b/d of condensates. Feed to the new units will be supplied from gathering centres 27 and 28 in Minagish and Umm Gudair which are currently being constructed by China Petroleum Engineering & Construction Corporation under a $390 million contract signed with KOC at the end of last year.

A $1,200 million term finance facility and a KD 45 million ($150 million) working capital facility was signed on 15 September between Equate and 54 Western, Asian and Arab banks to finance the construction of a new petrochemicals complex in Shuaiba. Equate is a joint venture of the US’ Union Carbide Corporation and Petrochemical Industries Company, which both have a 45 per cent stake, and Bubiyan Petrochemicals Company, which holds a 10 per cent stake. When the new complex comes on stream next year it will produce 650,000 tonnes a year (t/y) of ethylene, 450,000 t/y of polyethylene and 350,000 t/y of ethylene glycol.