Bapco is in the process of prequalifying five consultants to carry out the feasibility study, which will take four-five months to complete. The plan is to issue the invitation-to-bid (ITB) package in late September. Besides scoping the project, the consultant will also make recommendations on the product slate and assess its commercial viability.

Bapco says that the proposed petrochemicals complex will be fully integrated into the refinery and is tentatively estimated to cost $1,500 million.

The main element of the Bapco’s refinery expansion scheme covers the installation of a 40,000-b/d hydrocracker for low-sulphur diesel production. The project was first tendered in mid-2002 on an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) basis. However, the EPC tender was subsequently cancelled after bids came in above budget. Subsequently, Bapco invited companies to prequalify on a revised EPC management basis. The US’ Bechtelprepared the front-end engineering design (FEED) studies for the upgrade (MEED 1:3:02).