Monday, October 19, 2009

Kuwait to revive scrapped refinery project: minister

KUWAIT CITY — Kuwait plans again to put out to tender a 15-billion dollar refinery project that was scrapped seven months ago due to a dispute between MPs and the government, a senior minister said on Sunday.

"The government programme will include re-tendering the fourth refinery project," Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Sheikh Ahmad Fahad al-Sabah told the official KUNA news agency.

"The previous dispute was not over the project itself, but rather on the mechanisms of carrying it out," he said.

"If we re-tender the project within the constitutional, legal, monitoring and legislative frameworks, many of the misgivings will be resolved," the minister said.

The Kuwaiti government scrapped the 615,000-barrels per day project in March, months after awarding contracts to four South Korean companies, a Japanese firm and US giant Fluor.

MPs have opposed the project citing flawed procedures in awarding the contracts, because it did not go through the state-run Central Tenders Committee to ensure transparency.

In December, Kuwait scrapped a 7.5-billion dollar partnership with US Dow Chemical after pressure from MPs, citing its high cost amid the global economic downturn.

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