The Facilities Modernization Projects (A & B) are part of Kuwait Oil Company’s strategic development plan to meet and achieve its production objectives and targets by adding and upgrading surface production facilities along with relocation of underground piping and upgraded control systems for nineteen production facilities.


The aim of the project is to increase oil production. New desalting and separation facilities were provided to nineteen Gathering Centers, new tank vapor gas compressors and condensate recovery units with Variable Speed Drives were replaced in the existing units. Modification of the existing facilities were made to enhance operational safety by relocating underground pipe to aboveground, replacing electrical cables and upgrading instrument and control systems. These modifications came after intensive study and assessment to these facilities. These facilities were built in early fifties and during the Iraqi invasion to the state of Kuwait in 1990 all the oil production facilities was affected because of the war, the damage varies from facility to facility. Also the aging of facilities became a Health, safety and environmental issue. The project commenced on June 2005 and completed on March 2009, during the execution many challenges faced the project team and it was solved in a professional way. The project team consists form the KOC staff and the PMC staff.

Challenges and Solutions

During the project execution many challenges face the project management team, these challenges are listed below:

Seller Market


  • High Demand of Commodity Materials & Overload of Global Manufacturers.

    • From year 2004 and onwards a high demand on the infrastructure projects raised in the world and in the gulf region, and this lead to the overloaded of the manufacturers worldwide. This challenge may lead to schedule and cost impact to the project. As an example, the shortage of the Titanium plate for pate type Heat Exchanger & Diesel Engine.


The project team starts placing the purchase orders for the bulk materials from day one of the project to avoid any further delays to the materials. Also, the project team utilizes the contractor worldwide procurement network to minimize any delivery gaps may occur.

  • Direct Purchase Orders to Raw Material Suppliers.

  • Blanket Order of Bulk Materials and Reserve the Manufacturing Facilities.

  • Worldwide Procurement Networks.

Working in the Operating Plant


  • Large volume of underground obstacles.

    • Most of the as build drawing of the facilities was destroyed during the Iraqi invasion to the State of Kuwait in1990, and this lead to many unknowns during the execution of the projects, for example many trenches has been made to clear the way to the job.

  • Interference with on-going other projects.

    • Many projects were running at the same time with the FMP project serving the maintenance department and other departments within the facilities. This lead to may interface within the facility area which require a close monitoring of the contactors and to clear the area for each one of them as soon as possible.

  • Restriction of working hours.

    • A new working low was implemented by the Ministry of Work in state of Kuwait and stated that all activities running under the direct sunlight must stop from 11:00 AM till 4:00 PM form June until September. This law has a negative impact to the project schedule.


  • Additional engineers were employed to investigate and solve any unforeseen obstacles.

  • Continuous coordination meeting among concerned parties to solve and minimize any concerns may rise during the execution of the project.

  • Sharing the engineering information with other contractors to have a clear picture about the unknowns within the facilities and to avoid any conflicts and duplication of works.

  • Stick work permit system to minimize and control the working hours and to enhance the working environment.

Project Rush Worldwide


  • Manpower shortage within GCC, as stated earlier that the high demand to the infrastructure projects the project team face a shortage in the skilled manpower to execute the project.

  • Project costs have doubled since 2005, according to HIS/Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA).


  • Securing working resources in the early stage of the construction planning: Multiple Sources. The project team utilizes the PMC and contractor global network to secure the manpower needed at the right time. Strategic Subcontract Management: Local and International Contractors was applied to get the overall manpower including labors, wilders, supervisors ….etc.

  • Due to the high demand on the project the cost of the material, equipment and the manpower was increased by double which needs more effort to control the cost. Cost Trend Reporting was implemented to follow up the costing and payments to the contractor and venders to avoid any claims may rise.

Existing Design Information


  • Lack of As-Built Information and Field Modification Records, as stated Most of the as build drawing of the facilities was destroyed during the Iraqi invasion to the State of Kuwait in1990, and this lead to many unknowns during the execution of the projects,


  • 4months of Extensive Design Support activities and Creative Field Engineering Efforts was running before detail design starts to reduce any unknowns and to get a new as built drawing for the facilities.

  • Field Verification by extensive Slit Trenching and Operating Line Verification of all GCs: Underground was done to all the project sites to avoid any obstacles may face the contractor during the execution.

Shutdown Control to Minimize Production Loss


  • Project team faced a major challenge which is working on a life facilities to minimize production loss and Limited total shutdown period, and this due to the oil prices during the project execution period.

  • Complete Readiness of the Shutdown Works.

  • Compromising between the Needs of Construction and Production Operations.


To minimize any production loss many activities were in place

  • Detailed Work Program: Network Scheduling Technique

  • Readiness Check a month ahead of the shutdown dates to avoid unforeseen and to optimize the shutdown periods.

  • Daily Planning meetings with all concerned parties for planning alignment.

  • Opening Direct Communication Channels with all concerned parties (KOC staff / PMC / contractor) working at the site to share all information and to utilize any shutdown window for tie-ins works.

  • Utilizing maintenance shutdown period of each unit to complete the tie-ins and to minimize the shutdown required for the tie-ins portions.

Safety Control in Brown Field

Safety is first always, working in a life facilities is a major challenge to all parties (asset owner / project team /contactor). Below is a list of the main challenges face the project:


  • Works inside Operating plants needs a high attention to safety behaviors.

  • Adverse Weather Conditions and sand storm, hot summer affect the working hours.

  • A total of 40 million KM traveled from the contractor home office and Kuwait, and within the project are that contain nineteen Gathering Centers.

  • Communication Issue: 14,000 Multinational Workforce, this issue needs a high attention to the language and culture barrier to control the worker behavior.


  • Top Management Commitment, a walk through has been done by senior management once to twice a month and the weekly by the controlling and requesting team leaders to ensure all HSE plans are implemented and in place.

  • Safety, cascading downwards by adding more safety engineers and supervisors at construction sites and maintaining all safety records.

  • Strict adherence - Permit to Work System, by implementing E-work permit to track all the executed jobs Easley and effectively.

  • Compliance with KOC Fire & Safety regulation, Project HSE Plan, State of Kuwait Laws

  • To avoid any language and culture barrier Safety Booklet has been published in multi-language to cover most of the worker nationalities and to enhance the working environment.

The success of the project is widely attributed to the "One Team Spirit" adopted by the Kuwait Oil Company Project Team, the Asset Teams, the EPC Contractors and the PMC. Collectively they maintained common goals and undertook a team approach to resolving emerging issues through seamless co-ordination and co-operation.

This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material does not necessarily reflect any position of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its officers, or members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper without the written consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers is prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of SPE copyright.


The Senior Management of Kuwait Oil Company, EPC Contractors and the PMC congratulated their employees who worked together to successfully deliver the Facilities Modernization Project for the East and West Kuwait Production Facilities. The project was delivered by a fully integrated and dedicated Project Team who demonstrated world class safety performance for Brownfield projects, co-ordinate shutdown of the facilities with Company Operations and Maintenance Teams to minimize production outages and brought the project in on budget. The complexity and magnitude of the Facilities Modernization Projects cannot be under-stated and will stand as one of the most successful projects ever undertaken in Kuwait. It is Company’s hope that the knowledge and experience gained in the implementation of the Facilities Modernization Projects is carried forward and implemented for future projects.