* Fourth refinery expected to cost $14.5 bln
* Summer imports of LNG seen rising to 40-45 cargoes
MANAMA, May 8 (Reuters) - Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) will launch a tender next month to build a long-delayed refinery at Al-Zour with a capacity of 615,000 barrels per day (bpd), a senior executive at KNPC said on Tuesday.
“All the contracts might be awarded by early next year and we’re hoping for completion in 2017,” Jamal Al-Loughani, deputy managing director of marketing at KNPC, told the MPGC conference organized by Conference Connection in Bahrain.
KNPC operates OPEC member Kuwait’s three existing refineries, which together have a capacity of 930,000 bpd.
Investment in the Al-Zour refinery, estimated to cost around $14.5 billion, has been delayed for years due to political wrangling.
Loughani also said he expected Kuwait to import 40-45 cargoes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by October 2012, more than it did during the peak summer period from March to October last year.
The Gulf Arab oil exporter needs to import gas for power generation to meet air conditioning demand in hot summer months. Loughani said he expected Kuwait to take delivery of five cargoes in May alone.
Kuwait began importing super-cooled gas in 2009 and has term deals to buy it from Royal Dutch Shell and Vitol from 2010-2013.