KNPC close to bagging $3bn refineries revamp loan

Part of Kuwait's $100bn economic development plan, the Clean Fuels Project will upgrade and expand two of the country's largest existing refineries

KNPC was in talks with local and Islamic banks to secure a $3bn loan of 10 years duration.
KNPC was in talks with local and Islamic banks to secure a $3bn loan of 10 years duration.

The Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) expects to close the first phase of funding for its multi-billion-dollar Clean Fuels Project with local banks as soon as the first week of April, the state oil refiner told Kuwait News Agency on Tuesday.

Part of Kuwait’s KWD30bn ($100bn) economic development plan, the Clean Fuels Project will upgrade and expand two of the country's largest existing refineries with a focus on producing higher-value products such as diesel and kerosene for export.

KNPC was in advanced talks with local conventional and Islamic banks to secure a KWD900mn ($3bn) loan of 10 years duration, CEO Mohammed al-Mutairi was quoted as saying in a statement to the state news agency.

The National Bank of Kuwait and Kuwait Finance House were helping to arrange this part of the funding, the statement said.

Negotiations were also underway to secure further financing from international banks which would be guaranteed by the export credit agencies of South Korea, Japan, Britain, Italy and the Netherlands.

No figure for this portion was given, but the statement said the expected completion of talks was scheduled later this year.

Sources told Reuters in April 2015 that KNPC was in talks with banks to raise as much as $10bn for a period between seven and 10 years to fund around 70% of the total project cost.

Under the project, the capacity of the Mina al-Ahmadi refinery will drop to 347,000 barrels per day (bpd) from 466,000, while Mina Abdulla refinery's capacity will rise to 454,000 bpd from 270,000 bpd.

The reduction in the capacity of the Ahmadi refinery, after shutting one of its crude distillation units, will be compensated for by adding new units to produce higher-value products.

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