Kuwait’s state refiner KNPC has extended bidding for two contracts to build a 615,000 b/d refinery at Al-Zour. The extension results from bidders asking for more time to plan a large and complex project rather than another of the political standoffs that prevented progress for many years. The $16bn project has only advanced beyond the drawing board since the appointment of ‘Ali al-‘Umair – a leading critic of Kuwait’s major oil deals during his time as an MP – as Oil Minister in December 2013.

KNPC Chief Executive Muhammad al-Mutairi says the tender deadlines have been extended until November 2014 and January 2015. “We are targeting April 2015 to sign the contracts for Al-Zour,” Mr Mutairi tells Reuters. This would represent little slippage, as the company earlier said it would award engineering, procurement and construction contracts in the first quarter of 2015. Fifteen firms have been shortlisted, although a full list has not been made public. (CONTINUED - 295 WORDS)