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Tue 8 May 2007 12:08 PM

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Kuwait doubles al-Zour refinery budget

'Realistic' $12bn estimation comes as previous bids for the plant were rejected.

Kuwait has doubled the budget for its new 615,000 barrels per day al-Zour refinery to $12 billion due to escalating costs for oil and gas projects, the country's oil minister said on Tuesday.

"It's about $12 billion," Sheikh Ali al-Jarrah al-Sabah told reporters when asked about the plant budget. "We have to be realistic."

In February, Kuwait cancelled a previous tender for the plant after bids came in way above its expectations.

Kuwait hopes to issue a new tender for the refinery in July, Kuwait National Petroleum Company Chairman Sami al-Rushaid said. Construction of the plant would be completed by 2011, a year later than previously planned, he said.

The country was stepping up security at oil installations, Rushaid said, although he gave no further details.

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