Italy’s Tecnimont has emerged as the front runner to win a deal to build an acid-gas removal facility at the Mina al-Ahmadi refinery after submitting the lowest price in a 18 May bid round, a source close to the project tells MEED.

Tecnimont’s price of $399m (KD116m) is lower than rival proposals from China’s Sinopec, the UK’s Petrofac, Italy’s Saipem, GS Engineering & Construction and Hyundai Engineering & Construction, both of South Korea.

Second placed Sinopec came in 15 per cent higher with a proposal of $471m.

Swiss-based ABB Engineering, SK Engineering & Construction, Daelim Industrial Company, both of South Korea, Japan’s Toyo Engineering and France’s Technip were all prequalified, but did not submit bids.

The winning firm will build a gas-handling unit and sweetening facilities at the refinery, which will strip sulphur from natural gas, as well as a sulphur recovery unit and associated infrastructure.

The facility will be capable of handling as much as 230 million cubic feet-a-day of gas and 78,000 barrels a day of condensates.

The client, state-refiner Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) extended the deadline for commercial proposals from 18 April, although it did not disclose the reason(MEED 11:4:10).

The project is part of Kuwait’s plan to reduce emissions by producing clean fuels. It includes plans for an overhaul of the country’s existing refineries and the construction of a fourth refinery at Al-Zour, the cost of which has risen to an estimated $15bn. The scheme has faced considerable political opposition, which has resulted in extensive delays.