Kuwait finishes US $330 million offshore pier

Plans to invest some US $10 billion over the coming four years to boost output and export capacities

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By  Eudore Chand Published  March 12, 2005

Kuwait has completed the construction of a pier, which it claims is the largest and most advanced in the Middle East. The project was undertaken by the oil-rich state to boost its export capacity of crude and petroleum products. The 2.1 km-long offshore pier at Kuwait’s largest refinery of Al Ahmadi was built by South Korean Hyundai Engineering at a cost of more than US $330 million. It took approximately three years to complete. The new pier has been designed so it can deal with crude supertankers with a capacity of 350 000 tons, in addition to natural gas and methanol tankers, according to Sami Al Rasheed, chairman of Kuwait National Petroleum Company. The pier replaces one built in 1949, which was modernised in 1985 and is designed to serve the emirate for the next 30 years, SPA quoted Al Rasheed as saying. The project is part of an ambitious multibillion-dollar investment programme to rehabilitate and modernise the infrastructure of the oil sector that generates more than 90% of Kuwait’s public revenues. According to Kuwait’s Energy Minister Sheikh Ahmed Fahd Al Sabah, the new project is a signal to the world oil market that Kuwait is working hard to contribute to meeting rising global demand for oil. He said Kuwait plans to invest some US $10 billion over the coming four years as part of its long-term strategy to boost output and export capacities to 4 million bpd by 2020. “We plan to offer two key projects in the coming months to modernise the oil pipeline network and the main export facilities at a cost of $2 billion,” he said during the pier’s opening ceremony. The emirate plans to build a fourth refinery with a capacity of 400 000 bpd, Sheikh Ahmad said. The cost is estimated at $3 billion. With its six platforms, the pier can handle four tankers simultaneously and will reduce loading time from 48 hours to 30 hours, thus boosting export capacity. Al Ahmadi is the largest of Kuwait’s three oil refineries which together have a combined daily production capacity of 917 000 barrels. More than 40% of Kuwait’s oil exports are in the form of refined products, while it currently produces around 2.3 million barrels per day (bpd). Kuwait has also ordered seven new tankers, the first of which is due to be delivered in 2006, as the emirate pursues an aggressive policy to find new markets for the planned increase in production. The Gulf state has signed a contract with South Korea, and plans to raise exports to the South-east Asian nation from 120 000 bpd to 200 000 bpd over the next ten years. It is also working with China to raise its crude oil exports from the current 20 000 bpd up to 350 000 bpd. Kuwait is planning to open a marketing office in Beijing in China later on this month, according to reports.

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