The project sponsor’s are looking for a $1.7bn loan to begin developing the project, with an additional $400m equity investment.

One source close to the project says: “There is interest from Bahraini banks in supporting the project, so a Bahraini dinar tranche could be added to the financing.”

The $1.7bn loan is currently split between a $1.2 commercial bank tranche, $300m Islamic tranche, a $200m US Exim direct loan. The three mandated lead arrangers, Calyon, Mashreq and Standard Chartered, will each provide $100m to the commercial bank tranche.

Pricing on the debt is targeted at 250 basis points during construction, rising to 350 basis points during the final three years of the eight year debt.