Kuwait in search of partners for petrochemical ‘projects’ – We must learn from India

December 30, 2018

Kuwait perhaps is the only country where international oil and gas companies show reluctance to work in partnerships with our oil companies unlike the other oil producing companies which at all times attract foreign companies to invest in refining and petrochemical, such as the Saudi Aramco, Adnoc of Abu Dhabi or Qatar Petroleum, and oil companies in Iraq and Iran too, until recently prior to the American boycott.

For over three years, Kuwait has been seeking partners to develop our petrochemical industry. The Al-Zour refinery, with its new configuration promises more than 10 folds returns and help the petrochemical industry to breathe life into the oil sector whose demand for transportation is slowing down with the arrival of electric cars, and oil replacement along with alternative fuels that will reduce the growth of oil.

Now the petrochemical industry is the answer to the future growth with added values, profits for refining industry instead of the traditional petroleum products.

We can understand the reluctance of international oil and gas companies venturing again in Kuwait because of the bitter experience with the Northern Oil Fields project and the well-known KDow Petrochemicals issue which we ended up paying $2.2 billion in compensation.
Meanwhile the KPC is openly dealing with the K-Dow outside Kuwait and has cemented all sorts of partnerships, joint ventures.

The same applies to any investments outside Kuwait such as the Al Doqum Refinery in Oman and joint refinery operations in Vietnam, but when it comes to Kuwait, it is a big ‘NO’. If we don’t find new partners, our new petrochemical projects will be in disarray, as we lack experience in this particular new field, despite Kuwait being the first Middle Eastern country to have established a petrochemical company. Now we lag behind almost every country in this field. We must learn from India.

Of the 70% of oil consumed in India is exported back in the form of plastic and other related products which originate from oil, with triple and more of added value – the value that we in Kuwait should benefit from. This will be achieved and done alone. It can be done only through foreign partners. This challenge should be given top priority.