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OMAN : Sohar Refinery $1.5bn expansion contract attracts strong interest.

International and local engineering companies are among several dozen firms seeking to win pre-qualification in a competitive tender for one of Oman s biggest engineering contracts the estimated $1.5 billion expansion and modernisation of the Sohar refinery plant.

Bidders must submit prequalification (PQ) documents by August 8, 2011 if they wish to participate in the keenly anticipated tender. It is estimated that around 30-35 companies picked up the key PQ document, underscoring the strength of interest in a project that many see is perhaps the last of the major downstream engineering contracts up for grabs before a hiatus is seen in new big-ticket engineering schemes. The next mega engineering venture is envisioned only during the 2015-2020 time frame when the government is expected to pursue development of a large-scale refinery and petrochemical project at Duqm.

Oman Oil Refineries and Petrochemical Industries SAOC (ORPIC), which owns and manages Sohar refinery, is overseeing the pre-qualification process to allow for the fast-track implementation of the expansion project.

ORPIC is expected to pre-qualify around 15 companies whose details will be handed over to the Government Tender Board which will oversee the main phase of the competitive tender. A Request for Proposals is likely to be issued to the pre-qualified parties only sometime early next year, it is learnt.

Given the technical nature and sophistication of the expansion project, only engineering firms with proven experience in the execution of a green-field refinery and hydrocracker scheme worth around $450 million will be eligible to participate in the tender as Lead Contractor. Subordinate partners should have executed refinery contracts of at least $250 million in order to pre-qualify.

The upgrade and expansion of Oman s flagship refinery will result in a number of beneficial outcomes. For one, the project will contribute to a significant improvement in the refinery s product quality while boosting output by almost 60 per cent. For another, state-of-the-art technologies will help bring its emission levels and product quality into line with internationally-recognised standards.

ORPIC s goal is to enhance the plant s design capacity from the present 116,400 barrels per stream day (bpsd) to 187,774 bpsd. In conjunction with this upgrade, several new units will be added and integrated into the existing refinery complex. One major objective of the upgrade is to improve the feed quality of the Residual Fluid Catalytic Cracking unit to achieve a design on-stream factor for better capacity utilisation. Besides, it will enable Sohar Refinery to supply the requisite quantity and quality of feedstock to the adjoining plants of Aromatics Oman and Oman Polypropylene. Additionally, for the first time bitumen will be added to the refinery s portfolio of refined petroleum products.

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Publication:Mena Report
Geographic Code:7OMAN
Date:Jul 27, 2011
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