The project will be financed by a 64:36 debt/equity split, with about $350 million in equity to be provided by the client, Societe Anonyme Marocaine de l’Industrie du Raffinage (Samir), from the continued operation of the existing 150,000-barrel-a-day refinery. The debt portion is composed of a $265 million local tranche from Banque Marocaine de Commerce Exterieur, Attihari Wafabank and Banque Centrale Populaire; $85 million from the African Development Bank; $30 million from France’s Proparco; a $50 million uncovered international tranche; and a $270 million international element covered by Italian export credit agency SACE, including $65 million in contingency funds. The tenor for all the tranches is 13 years, including a three-year grace period, except the international tranches arranged by Barclays Capital and BNP Paribas, which have a tenor of 10.5 years and a grace period of three years. The first drawdown on the funds is expected in February.

Taylor-DeJongh is the financial adviser, with Akin Gump offering legal advice to Samir and Clifford Chance to the lenders. Samir is a private company 66 per cent-owned by Saudi Arabia’s Coral Group, with the balance publicly quoted on the Casablanca bourse.

Rehabiliation work began on 1 September on the estimated $640 million main engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract, awarded in June 2005 to a consortium of Italy’s Snamprogetti and Turkey’s Tekfen. The upgrades are targeted for completion by the end of 2008 (MEED 13:1:06).