Kuwait Petroleum International (KPI) is planning more investments in Europe, including into storage terminals and other oil-related facilities to help to provide more outlets for the fuels it produces.
Khaled Al-Mushaileh, KPI's vice president Europe, told the Platts refining conference in Brussels that his company views Europe as an important market and plans to expand in retail and downstream sectors.
KPI, a subsidiary of Kuwait's national oil company Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, currently owns two refineries in Europe and has more than 4,000 Q8 petrol service stations across the continent, according to its website.
Its 88,000 barrel per day (bpd) Rotterdam refinery is currently for sale. But Al-Mushaileh said the company would look to acquire assets in Scandinavia and Benelux, such as storage terminals, aviation fuel logistics, lubricant blending and other infrastructure to help it to keep its share of Europe's high-value market.
"We are expanding actually in Europe with our retail and logistics," he said, adding: "When you have a footprint, it's easier to expand the trade."
Al-Mushaileh said the company was pursuing a broader strategy of "securing an outlet" for Kuwait's oil at refineries worldwide, targeting refining capacity of 800,000 bpd by 2020.
"We are maximizing the flexibility of our refineries to absorb more Kuwaiti crude," Al-Mushaileh said.
The approach mirrors a similar, but far larger project by neighboring Saudi Arabia, which has expanded its refining to more than 5 million barrels per day (bpd) worldwide in an effort to place its crude oil cargoes and sell them as higher value oil products such as diesel and gasoline.
Fuels, including ultra low sulphur diesel from upgrades underway the at Mina Abdulla and Mina Al-Ahmadi refineries in Kuwait, which have a targeted completion of 2019, will look primarily to Europe, he said.
"They are designed to meet the European quality. They are designed to meet the demand of Europe," Al-Mushaileh said, adding they aim to acquire their own blending terminals for road fuels to "avoid any kind of giveaway" in the sale price.
(Reporting By Libby George. Editing by Jane Merriman)