DUBAI, March 1 Kuwait expects to receive approval to develop a $9 billion refinery in China by the end of the year, a Kuwaiti oil executive said on Monday.
In remarks carried by state news agency KUNA, Kuwait Petroleum Corp's (KPC) chief executive Saad Al-Shuwaib said the project's investors were still hoping to commission the 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) refinery by 2013.
"We expect to obtain final approval ... by the end of the year," Shuwaib told KUNA.
The project has suffered years of delays. After initial approval in 2006, it has yet to receive Beijing's final nod.
OPEC-member Kuwait said in September it hoped to get final approval from China in the first quarter, after which it would finalise the partners. [ID:nLS214007]
Kuwait will supply all the crude to the refinery and produce one million tonnes of ethylene per year.
State-owned KPC and Sinopec 60028.SS each hold a 50 percent stake in the joint venture, with KPC planning to give 20 percent of its share to international partners, it has said.
KPC was in talks with several international companies, Shuwaib said.
BP Plc (BP.L) was linked with the project in 2007, but in 2008 appeared to be out of the running when Kuwait shortlisted Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) and Dow Chemical Co (DOW.N) as potential partners for refining and petrochemicals respectively. Kuwait said in September it had revived talks with BP. (Reporting by John Irish; editing by James Jukwey)