Kuwait Invites Bidders for Upstream Project

Kuwait Petroleum Corp. is requesting that more international companies bid for interest in its upstream oil development project, which will open the lucrative oil sector for foreign companies for the first time in three decades. KPC has already pre-qualified a number of majors to bid for the project, but it's now inviting those which have not been qualified previously to reapply as non-operator partners.

"Additional and final applications for qualification as non-operators will be accepted for a limited period from companies" for participation in the North Kuwait Project, a KPC statement said. Applications are open until February 17th.

KPC's chief executive Nader Sultan said the reopening of the offer to further companies was made in response to requests by interested companies. The Kuwait Supreme Council last year short-listed a number of companies to bid for the project, including ExxonMobil Corp., ChevronTexaco, Shell, BP Group, Conoco, TotalFinaElf and Lasmo PLC.

The plan calls for upgrading production at five northern oil fields near the border with Iraq - Rawdatain, Sabrya, Ratga, Abdali and Bahra - to around 900,000 barrels a day, from the current 450,000 b/d, within a five to 10 year period.

The pre-qualified companies have been provided with technical data, but no deals have been struck yet because the project has been stalled in parliament, where many legislators voiced skepticism on the government's program.