Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco) is seeking a financial adviser to help it develop an expansion and upgrade of its Sitra refinery.

A selection of international firms are understood to have received the request for proposals (RFP) and bids are due by the end of the March. Despite the current unrest in Bahrain, several international banks are understood to considering bidding for the work.

The work is limited in scope and may not necessarily include taking a project finance deal to the market, according to sources, who have received the RFP. The expansion could cost up to $2bn, though it is unclear how much of that would need to be raised from banks.

“This is an early stage mandate to advise on the structuring of the project and making sure a financing is attractive and the economics of the project work,” says a source.

The expansion of the Sitra refinery is intended to expand capacity from around 262,000 barrels a day (b/d) to between 500,000 to 600,000 b/d The additional capacity for the refinery is dependent on the development of the expansion of a pipeline bringing crude oil in from Saudi Arabia.

Sitra is the only refinery in Bahrain and was build in 1936.