Kuwait Aromatics Company (Karo)has asked the three bidders for its aromatics plant project at Shuaiba to reprice the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract. The decision was taken after all three bids received in April came in substantially above budget.

The low bid of $1,295 million, submitted by a South Korean/Italian joint venture of SK Engineering & Construction and Tecnimont, was about $250 million above the client’s budget. Unlike the other three main process unit packages on the Shuaiba Olefins II petrochemicals complex, the aromatics scheme is wholly government- funded and requires Central Tenders Committee (CTC) approval before the contract can be signed.

The SK/Tecnimont joint venture and the two other bidders – South Korea’s GS Engineering & Constructionand Paris-based Technip– have until September to renegotiate their original prices. Karo, in which state-owned Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC)is the majority shareholder, is understood to have reduced the scope of work for the scheme’s utilities element and lowered potential overheads and risks facing the contractor in an effort to lower prices.

The plant will have capacity of 770,000 tonnes a year (t/y) of paraxylene and 330,000 t/y of benzene. The facility’s technology has been licensed from the US’ UOP. The UK office of the US’ Bechtelis the front-end engineering and design (FEED) and project management contractor (MEED 22:4:05).