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Al-Sabeeh, Japan agree to forge closer cooperation
October 9, 2014, 8:01 am
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Kuwaiti Minister of State for Development and Planning Affairs and Minister of Social Affairs and Labour Hind Al-Sabeeh with JGC Corp. Chairman Emeritus Yoshihiro Shigehisa.

Visiting Kuwaiti Minister of State for Development and Planning Affairs and Minister of Social Affairs and Labour Hind Al-Sabeeh and head of leading Japanese engineering contractor discussed on Wednesday future coordination between Kuwait and the company. At their meeting in Yokohama City near Tokyo, Al-Sabeeh and JGC Corp. Chairman Emeritus Yoshihiro Shigehisa discussed the prospects for future cooperation, especially in energy and infrastructure projects under Kuwait's national development plan for 2015-2020. "We are keen to learn what kind of businesses you are expecting from Japan.

We are ready to supply our technology, not only in the fields of hydrocarbon or engineering, procurement, construction (EPC), but also other areas such as agriculture. I wish to listen to your comments so that we can contribute to further development of your country," Shigeshisa told Al-Sabeeh. Al-Sabeeh welcomed his offer, saying, "The 2015-2020 national development plan is due next February, and some of the projects in this five-year plan are in the oil sector. We hope to expand cooperation with JGC in our development plan".

The two sides then exchanged views on possible cooperation in program management and consultation works for some projects under the development plan, while JGC also showed an interest in development of solar generation in Kuwait. According to the Kuwaiti side, the 2015-2020 Kuwait Development Plan will include the construction of a metro project and a rail project linking the five partners of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

Moreover, among other projects are construction of a new terminal at Kuwait International Airport, a media city and low-cost housing units, further development of power generation and Al Zour refinery, as well as expansion of the sewage network and a solid waste treatment facility. As part of the national development plan, earlier this year, state-run Kuwait National Petroleum Co. awarded JGC and other companies for its Clean Fuels Project (CFP) at the Mina Abdullah and Mina Al Ahmadi refineries in southern Kuwait, which would help the country nearly double its total refining capacity.

The objective of the project is to upgrade existing refineries into an integrated refining complex producing environment-friendly fuel products that meet the future diversified market requirements while maintaining high safety standards. The project is scheduled for completion in 2018. KNPC awarded JGC-led consortium a KWD 1.36 billion (USD 4.9 billion) contract to provide EPC, as well as commissioning assistance and testing services for CFP-related work at Mina Al Ahmadi.

The original Mina Al-Ahmadi Refinery was also constructed by JGC in 1980s. Last year, state-run Kuwait Petroleum International (KPI) and its joint venture partners also awarded JGC-led international consortium an EPC contract for a USD 9 billion refinery and petrochemicals complex in Vietnam. During the meeting, JGC also briefed the minister its new businesses, such as an integrated industrial township development in India, as well as environmental protection, hospital and agriculture projects at home and abroad.

Since its foundation in 1928, JGC has been involved in well over 20,000 projects in Japan and over 70 countries in the fields of hydrocarbons, including oil and gas development, petroleum refining and petrochemicals, as well as involvement in environmental protection, nuclear power, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and medical centers.

JGC is currently executing projects in Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore and other countries. Speaking to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) and Kuwait TV after the meeting, Al-Sabeeh said, "Today's meeting was very fruitful. As JGC is world's leading engineering company, we hope to promote cooperative ties in large-scale projects".

For his part, Shigemitsu said, "The new Kuwait Development Plan will start soon. We actively exchanged ideas about potential cooperation between Kuwait and JGC in the future, including solar generation and environmental projects. We are ready to offer anything that would make contributions to the development of Kuwait".

The minister arrived in Japan on Saturday for a weeklong visit. Earlier in the day, she visited Yokohama City near Tokyo to inspect large-scale redevelopment waterfront.

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