State-upstream operator Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) has awarded a $382.2m contract to South Korea’s SK Engineering & Construction for the construction of electrical substations in the southeast of Kuwait.

The contract was awarded on 4 October, according to state-run Kuna news agency.

Hyundai Engineering & Construction, another South Korean firm, had been considered the frontrunner to win the contract, after submitted the lowest engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) bid, with an offer of $274m in May.

However, the contract was awarded to the second-priced SK, which bid $382m. Other bidders include Athens-based Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC), Italy’s Saipem and South Korea-based GS Engineering & Construction.

According to a senior executive at the firm, the contract was awarded to SK despite its higher priced bid as it was able to convince KOC that the lower offer was not executable.

“We assured the client that our offer is an executable price, fully complying with the ITB requirements and not including any deviations or conditions,” says the executive. 

SK has previously worked on several projects for KOC, including the construction of 165,000-barrel-a-day (b/d) crude oil Gathering Centre-24 in 2010. The elevated substation contract period covers 36 months and the facilities are expected to be turned over to KOC in October 2015.