The 12-18-month engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract calls for the modernisation of the plant, which was built in 1969 and is now operating at only 25 per cent of its 700,000- tonne-a-year (t/y) capacity. Under the phase 1 contract, the plant’s lifespan will be extended by 20-25 years. Invitations to bid (ITBs) are expected to be issued to selected bidders in mid-November, with a contract award set for early 2007.The project is the first of three expansion phases planned for the facility. Phase 2, estimated to be worth $300 million-400 million, will increase nameplate capacity to about 3.2 million t/y. The proposed phase 3 contract calls for the construction of a new LNG facility near the existing plant. The phase 3 project is dependent on the development of gas feedstock from Shell’s five exploration blocks in the Sirte basin, on which drilling is set to begin in 2007.