What role does KPI play in the international strategy for Kuwait's oil?
Within the K-companies under the umbrella of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), KPI is classified as the international arm for KPC for downstream business. KPC's structure contains both local and international downstream and upstream operations. The downstream business in Kuwait is under the charge of Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC), which takes care of the refining business in Kuwait, as well as gas operations, and also domestic marketing. In the upstream, we have Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) and Kuwait Gulf Oil Company (KGOC). Outside Kuwait, we have two companies, KPI and Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (KUFPEC). KUFPEC mainly deals with the upstream production side, gas operations, and production, and KPI deals with the downstream business, mainly refining and marketing operations. We also have Petrochemicals Industries Company (PIC), which deals with petrochemicals inside and outside of Kuwait, but PIC will join KPI to do an integrated project among the refineries. Historically, we were mainly a European operation, with KPC doing its own business development, but recently all the business development departments joined KPI, and now we are no longer a European company, but a global downstream company.
What investments in R&D are going to be of high impact for the sector, and what are your own R&D investments?
We have Q8Research, our own R&D center in Rotterdam, and we are trying to improve and widen our activities, especially relating to refining fuel and lube operations. Our R&D center in Rotterdam is one of the most important centers in Europe, especially in the lube industry. They handle more than 1,000 specialty products, concentrating more and more in lube. We are now present in more than 60 countries as Q8Oils, and we are trying to reach new markets with support from our R&D center. The center does not just provide support for KPI but for all K-companies, especially in downstream. We have programs with our sister companies for training and also for collaborative research and other R&D activities.
How can the R&D environment in Kuwait become more prominent and effective?
We would like to create a major R&D center in Kuwait. In addition to the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research Petroleum Research Center (KPRC), we will have our own, supported by KPI. It will be mainly in downstream, but with complete upstream and downstream petrochemicals activity. We feel that increasing operations here and in the region will need a major research center like this behind it. It is no longer as simple as it used to be. It is time for heavy crude and other difficult types of crude in the upstream side, handling water activities in the upstream, and also about things becoming more complicated in the downstream, especially with the complex refining system we have here in Kuwait, which requires a large R&D and support center to maintain it.
Looking at the next three years, what are the main objectives for Q8 and what would you like to achieve moving forward?
We have a 2030 Strategy that has been approved by KPC, and we are working in accordance with that strategy, which involves strengthening our position in the world. We have a solid presence throughout the world. In Europe, we have over 5,000 stations and about 70 airports in 20 countries. On the lube side, we are present in almost every part of Europe. Therefore, we seek to ensure that our operations remain efficient and that we maintain a competitive position in Europe. In Asia, we are growing in refining and petrochemicals, and we are also planning to grow in terms of retail stations, jet fuel supplies, and lube operations, in addition to the megaprojects in refining and petrochemicals. We hope to complete our project in Vietnam and then look into similar projects in other Asian countries.