This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Kuwait is a major oil supplier and a member of the OPEC consortium. Oil accounts for nearly half of Kuwait’s GDP, around 95% of exports, and approximately 90% of government export revenue. Kuwait holds approximately 7% of global oil reserves and has a current production capacity of about 3.15 million barrels per day.
The country’s oil sector is run by the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), a state-owned enterprise. KPC has several companies operating beneath it which are collectively known as the “K companies”. Upstream operations are primarily done by Kuwait Oil Company. Downstream operations are done by Kuwait National Petroluem Company . The Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) is the largest company by revenue and responsible for oil production.
The Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) announced its intention to increase oil production capacity to 4.75 million barrels per day (mmb/d) by 2040. In addition, KPC has announced intentions to increase natural gas production to 4 billion cubic feet per day by 2030. Future production increases will depend on actual implementation of several upstream projects including the development of heavy oil capacity of 60 thousand barrels per day. KPC announced an approximately $115 billion investment plan to be executed between 2015-2020 that is divided roughly equally between the upstream and downstream sectors. Thirty percent of the invested amount will be on local content and production.
The mega-project “Clean Fuels Project,” which upgraded and expanded the Mina Abdulla and Mina Al-Ahmadi refinery complexes, was completed in 2021. Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) awarded the Clean Fuel’s engineering, procurement and contracting (EPC) contracts to three international consortiums. U.S. company, Fluor, was awarded the Mina Abdullah package II contract in 2015, worth $3 billion. In addition, KNPC awarded four packages in 2015 to build the country’s fourth refinery, which will produce low-sulfur fuel oil for the country’s power plants. These two mega projects, Clean Fuels and the Fourth Refinery, are jointly expected to exceed $30 billion. In 2016, the Kuwait Supreme Petroleum Council approved the Al-Zour Oil Complex Project which is expected to cost $30 billion and in the same year a KPC subsidiary “Kuwait Integrated Petrochemical Industries Company – “KIPIC”) was established. The company will manage the refinery, petrochemicals and liquified natural gas (LNG) import operations in the Al-Zour complex. The complex will be formed by integrating the Al-Zour Refinery (under construction) with the planned Petrochemicals Complex (project cost: $10 billion) and a gas supply facility (project cost: $4 billion).
U.S. oil companies, manufacturers, and suppliers of oil field equipment have always experienced strong receptivity towards their products in the Kuwaiti market. KPC primarily uses American Petroleum Institute standards in their requests for proposals, which benefits U.S. manufacturers and suppliers. The Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) also has an aggressive procurement division hungry for U.S. technologies.
Although Kuwait does not allow private sector investment in the upstream oil market, the oil and gas sector will continue to be a leading sector for U.S. businesses in the future. Best prospects in this sector include, but are not limited to: consulting services; Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) services; refining technologies; environment consultants; control and instrumentation systems; and secondary recovery systems. The demand for drilling services and equipment will be strong due to Kuwait’s goal of increasing its oil and gas production capacity over the next ten years by developing heavy oil fields and offshore production. A pipeline is also planned as well as other petrochemical production facilities.
The Digitalization of Kuwait’s Oil Fields
With the oil being Kuwait’s primary natural resource and the need to mitigate the risk of falling oil prices, the country allocated a significant budget to spend on technology projects that focus on optimizing costs and enhancing operational workflows. To achieve these desired results, Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), the state-owned company that is responsible for oil production, is prioritizing the digitalization of oil fields.
U.S. companies that specialize in advanced solutions for cloud platforms, real-time monitoring, workflow improvement, and cybersecurity capabilities have market potential, provided their technology is proven and the company is willing to go through the pre-qualification process. As a precursor to a larger project, Kuwait Oil Company may ask the selected vendors to run a pilot project at a small scale to insure the viability of the technology in Kuwait’s harsh environment.
Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) successfully completed pilot projects to digitalize oil fields, applying the most advanced technologies to remotely monitor and control oil fields at four different fields in West Kuwait, North Kuwait, and South and East Kuwait. This large-scale project is known as the Kuwait Integrated Digital Field (KwIDF), which consists of 1,000 fields that are linked to the specific project, approximately 50% of KOC’s oil fields.
In addition to the pre-qualification process, U.S. companies seeking to do business in the oil sector are required to appoint a local partner who is well-connected and has significant experience working with the state-owned companies.
The Pre-Qualification Process:
Working with state-owned oil companies requires going through a pre-qualification exercise to be included in the approved list of contractors, manufacturers or service providers. Having a local agent is not a mandatory requirement during the prequalification stage; however, U.S. companies should have a local partner to bid on projects. The partnership can take any form of business structure. Forming a joint venture and sub-contracting are very common in the oil sector. The U.S. Commercial Service in Kuwait recommends that U.S. companies work with a strong and well-connected Kuwaiti company from the beginning to help marketing their products to end-users and to support the pre-qualification process which frequently can be lengthy and require significant effort.
U.S. companies interested in registering with Kuwait Oil Company should visit the company’s E-Business Portal: https://ebusiness.kockw.com/ to apply for an existing work/products category. The portal has detailed information about the process. Please note there is a separate pre-qualification process for each of the K-Companies including KIPIC and KNPC. In addition, new pre-qualification exercises are published on the portal as well as in Kuwait Official Gazette (Kuwait Al-Yawm) and local and international newspapers.
The Steps to apply for Existing Categories:
- Visit E-business portal: https://ebusiness.kockw.com/
- Click on “KOC Commercial Documents” on the side bar
- In the new screen, go the Document Category and select one of the following:
- Pre-Qualification of Contractors
- Pre-Qualification of Manufacturers
- Kindly select the relevant PQ document
- Download the document and complete it.
- Submit the complete pre-qualification documents to the following address:
- Kuwait Oil Company
- Supplier Relationship Management Team
- Ahmadi, KOC New Office Complex, Building B1, Ground Floor
For additional questions on the oil and gas sector, please contact Senior Commercial Specialist Dina Al-Shawa at Dina.Al-Shawa@trade.gov.
Kuwait Oil Company (e-tendering)
Kuwait National Petroleum Company
Kuwait National Petroleum Company eSourcing