Kuwait’s state refiner lowers maximum capacity target

Kuwait National Petroleum Co (KNPC) plans to reach a maximum refining capacity of 1.6 million bpd by 2025, a downward revision of its original 2 million bpd target for expansion, its chief executive told Reuters.

The OPEC member unveiled an ambitious oil sector growth strategy in early 2018, which is now under review, the state-owned refiner’s CEO Walid Khaled al-Badr said.

“The strategy is under review at this stage,” he said explaining that any plan had to be approved by the Kuwait Petroleum Co (KPC) and the Supreme Petroleum Council chaired by the prime minister Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah.

In 2018, Kuwait had said it planned to spend $500 billion to boost its crude oil production capacity to 4.75 million barrels per day by 2040, and increase its refining capacity to 2 million bpd.

Al-Badr said the strategy was revised every four to five years as coprorate planning team looks at market data, changes, parameters and demand on oil products to see whether outlook had changed.

Kuwait currently has a refining capacity of nearly 700,000 bpd produced by Kuwait’s largest refineries Mina al-Ahmadi and Mina Abdallah.

The two refineries are undergoing upgrades and expansion as part of the Clean Fuels Project with a focus on producing higher-value products such as diesel and kerosene for export.

The Clean Fuels Project completion was delayed by nearly a year, as it was first supposed to be commissioned in April 2018. The project started in April 2014.

“Such a huge project couldn’t be finalized in less than 72 months,” al-Badr said.

Al-Badr also said al-Zour refinery is expected to be commissioned by the second half of 2020 marking the completion of the CFP. ($1 = 0.3037 Kuwaiti dinars) (Reporting By Dahlia Nehme and Ahmed Hagagy; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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