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Kuwait still Plans to Build Middle East's Largest Oil Refinery Despite Delays

Despite years of delays caused by political tensions, the Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) has stated that it still intends to construct the Middle East’s largest oil refinery.

A senior executive at KNPC has told Reuters that the government will probably announce the winner of the management and consultancy (PMC) contract next month. “The bids have been submitted and now we are in the evaluation phase... I expect the result to be out in August,” he said.

The five international engineering firms that have submitted bids for the Al-Zour refinery are: US-based Foster Wheeler, and Fluor Corp; Australia's WorleyParsons; France's Technip; and British-based Amec.

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The refinery will cost around $14.5 billion and was first proposed a decade ago and will process 615,000 barrels of crude oil each day, beating the Middle East’s current largest refinery, the Ras Tanura plant in Saudi Arabia, by 65,000 barrels. The refined fuels will then be used to fuel power plants and water desalination facilities, with any excess being exported.

Kuwait has seen eight governments come and go in the past six years and Ibrahim Dabdoub, CEO of the National Bank of Kuwait, the country’s largest bank, blamed this political turmoil and instability for restricting state spending and delaying approval for infrastructure projects.

By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com

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