Six local companies have submitted prequalification applications for the concession to purchase carbon dioxide (CO2) captured from the Mina al-Ahmadi and Mina Abdulla refineries in Kuwait, according to a report from Middle East Business Intelligence (MEED).

State refinery operator Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) is the client and is expected to take up to a month evaluating the applications before setting a date for the auction for the concession. The highest bidder at the auction will enter into a long-term purchase agreement with the refinery operator.

The CO2 will be extracted pre-combustion from the refineries’ hydrogen plants, with KNPC set to build a gas booster plant in each refinery to handle the gas, while the private company will be responsible for building and operating a pipeline network to transfer the gas to its own CO2 processing facility.

The firms said to be in contention for the concession are Kharafi National, Kuwait Oxygen & Acetylene Company, National Petroleum Services Company, Kuwait United Oil Projects Company, Al-Nafisi International and the Challenge the Era Company.

It will be up to the concession holder to determine what to do with the CO2. The gas can be used in the production of urea and carbonates, refrigerants, and the soft drinks and pharmaceuticals industries. It may also be stored underground to prevent its release into the atmosphere, the environmentally friendly alternative.

Mina al-Ahmadi and Mina Abdulla are set to be upgraded as part of KNPC’s $15-20bn clean fuels project (CFP) to modernise its refining facilities and increase its overall refining capacity.