The French company says it won a basic engineering and design contract to provide technology for a 51,000 b/d desulphurisation unit, a 60,000 b/d catalytic cracker and a 30,000 b/d gas unit.

Axens says the $5bn facility will be operational by the first quarter of 2012.

The refinery, which will process crude from the offshore Al-Shaheen development, will produce distillates, bitumen and green coke, as well as other hydrocarbon derivatives.

It will be the state’s third refinery after Mesaieed and the condensate processing plant at Ras Laffan.

At least seven contractors have prequalified for the main construction package. QP says it plans to finalise prequalification and invite bids for the lump-sum turnkey contract by the end of May, with a view to awarding the deal by November (MEED 17:3:08).

US-based Jacobs Engineering with Beicip of France undertook the pre-front-end engineering and design (FEED) package, while the FEED and project management contractor is Technip (MEED 22:9:07).