International engineering giants are among nine groups of bidders shortlisted for an estimated $1.2 billion contract to undertake the expansion of Oman’s flagship refinery at Sohar.
In contention for the prestigious Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) contract is a roster of engineering heavyweights that includes Technip, the French-based provider of project management, engineering, and construction services for the oil and gas industry; Tecnicas Reunidas (TR), a leading Spanish engineering firm specialising in the design and construction of industrial plants of all types; Korean construction conglomerate Hyundai Engineering; and the joint venture of Indian engineering giant Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and GS Engineering of South Korea.
Also in the fray is the partnership of Petrofac, the London-headquartered international provider of integrated facilities services to the hydrocarbon and petrochemical industries, and South Korean engineering and construction conglomerate Daelim. Fellow Korean engineering corporation Daewoo has teamed up with global petrochemicals firm Lurgi to bid for the contract.
Likewise, Japanese engineering corporation Chiyoda has joined hands with Seoul-based industrial contractor Samsung Engineering to compete for the EPC package. Also making the shortlist are Korean firm SK Engineering, and Japanese industrial contractor JGC. The expansion, estimated to cost in the range of $1.5-1.8 billion, is being overseen by Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company (Orpic), a wholly government-owned integrated refining and petrochemicals entity.
Orpic oversees the management of Oman’s two refineries at Mina al Fahal and Sohar, as well as the aromatics and polypropylene plants at Sohar industrial port. The upgrade will add around 60,000 barrels per day (bpd) of new capacity to Sohar Refinery’s present processing capacity of around 116,000 bpd of crude and long residue.
The Observer has learnt that the shortlisted bidders have been invited to a site visit slated for later this month. The site visit will also provide an opportunity for the bidders to have any technical queries about the EPC package answered by the client’s representatives. In addition to enhancements that will optimise the propylene and naphtha feedstock output for the polypropylene and aromatics plants, the expansion will also help meet the escalating demand for gasoline and diesel in the Sultanate.
Also envisaged is a Delayed Coker Unit (DCU) designed to minimise excess low value bitumen production and increase the production of high value products like LPG, naphtha and diesel. The upgrade will also help meet local bitumen market through the installation of a Bitumen Blowing unit (BBU). An additional MTBE Unit will be added to enhance gasoline output. A contract award is likely to be announced only by the middle of next year, with completion targeted during the first half of 2016.