‘The way the deal has been done – with such a swift move to widen the group – has left a bitter taste, but most of those invited went in anyway,’ says one banker. ‘The pricing is better than on deals such as Rabigh and Sharq [in Saudi Arabia], for example, and it offers diversification away from petrochemicals.’

The Sohar smelter project is a joint venture of Oman Oil Companywith 40 per cent, Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA), also with 40 per cent, and Canada’s Alcan, with 20 per cent. The US’ Bechtelis carrying out the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contract (MEED 18:11:05).