Saudi Aramco has appointed the UK’s HSBC to arrange a bond to help finance the $9.6bn Jubail refinery, on the kingdom’s east coast.

Aramco and France’s Total, its joint venture partner, awarded the mandate to HSBC earlier in 2009, but did not announce the award at the time.

The joint venture expects to issue the bond in 2010, according to sources close to the Jubail project.

However, the firms may not need the bond to complete the financing of the project. Banks have already committed to lend the joint venture $8.3bn in the form of loans.

“Capital markets are being considered and could be accessed any time up to the completion of construction,” says a banker working on the project.

Aramco and Total want to start production at the refinery in 2013.

Aramco plans to reveal its terms for two commercial bank loans of $1.4bn each in early November.

Saudi Aramco & Total Refining & Petrochemical Company (Satorp) – the joint venture – is developing the project. France’s Calyon and its Saudi affiliate Banque Saudi Fransi are its advisers.