Kuwait sees Asia refinery deals by next year
Tuesday March 4 2008
By Rania El Gamal
KUWAIT, March 4 (Reuters) - State-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC) hopes to finalise by next year deals to build new refineries and petrochemical plants with Chinese, Vietnamese and Indian firms, its top executive said on Tuesday.
Kuwait is also to award the contract for the construction of the country's fourth refinery, which it says will be the biggest in the Middle East, "this month or next month".
"We are currently negotiating with several parties ... which are China, Vietnam and India," Saad al-Shuwaib, Chief Executive of KPC, told reporters on the sidelines of an oil seminar.
KPC was particularly eyeing investments in refineries related to petrochemicals, he said.
"But we don't want to be alone. We want to get into a partnership with others and to own a certain percentage in it ... Today a refinery is not less than $5 billion... a refinery with petrochemical," Shuwaib said.
Last month, Vietnamese state oil group Petrovietnam said it was getting closer to an agreement with two companies including Kuwait Petroleum International to form a joint venture to build Vietnam's second refinery, with a capacity of 170,000 barrels per day (bpd).
KPC was in talks in December with Indian firms to build a large refinery and petrochemical plant in India.
It was looking at a large scale refinery with a capacity of 150,000-400,000 bpd, while the petrochemical project would have an ethylene capacity of up to one million tonnes.
More than 10 firms are bidding for the 615,000 bpd al-Zour refinery. The refinery is part of Kuwait's plans to boost refining capacity to 1.415 million bpd from the current 930,000 bpd. The project has been delayed but a KPC official said last month the contracts would be awarded in March. (Editing by Anthony Barker)