Kuwait will need a mini city to host around 30,000 to 40,000 new workers expected to be recruited to work in the construction of the Clean Fuels project when work reaches its peak in 2016, and this will constitute an additional pressure on the infrastructure and construction expansion in areas of the project.
Kuwait National Petroleum Company signed the Clean Fuels project contracts a few months ago with three international conglomerates led by Fluor, Petrofac and JGC at a value of nearly KD 3.4 billion, and work is supposed to start next year. Informed sources at the oil sector said 2016 will be the peak year of works which requires the presence of 30,000 to 40,000 workers at the project sites to execute construction work.
They said the arrival of the laborers starts one year from today and reaches its peak after one and a half to two years. The sources said the workforce will be distributed over three sites – Ahmadi, Mina Abdullah and Shuaiba refineries.
They said current workers are examining the soil at the sites, adding that execution is going on according to the plan and that there are teams at KNPC to follow the development of the project from all aspects. The number of workers seems to be large compared with the limited number of housing units close to the project sites, and the high occupancy in them may constitute a tremendous pressure on rents in those areas.
So how will KNPC face this challenge? The government has promised to form special ministerial teams to deal with contractors’ requests with regards to the expected large number of workers, and to process transactions of workers as quickly as possible, which is a tremendous effort, and their role is an integral part in the project’s success. KNPC is waiting for the conglomerates to present their housing plans for their workers within two to three months, adding that the plans will be made in coordination with subcontractors.
Sources said KNPC stipulated that companies provide suitable residence for the contract workers, and not to have six or seven workers in one room, with guarantees that food and transportation will be provided. They said that there will be a KNPC committee to make sure about the workers’ residence and inspect their living places, expecting most of them to be in Mangaf and Fahaheel because of the close proximity to the refineries.
Rent crisis Meanwhile, real estate experts warned a rent crisis could be looming in light of Kuwait’s need for more than 100,000 new apartments in the next five years. The current estimated number of 11,700 apartment buildings in Kuwait is not enough to meet the demographic growth, as well as the expected number of expatriate labor forces to be recruited for mega governmental projects, the experts said.
The average rent for a for 2-5 year old apartment has increased from KD 267 a month in the fourth quarter of 2011 to at least KD 300 a month by the end of 2013.