Duqm Refinery & Petrochemical Industries (DRPI) has delayed the award of the front-end engineering and design (feed) contact on the Duqm refinery project in Oman after receiving at least five bids from international companies.

The operator, a 50-50 joint venture of state-owned Oman Oil Company (OOC) and Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company (Ipic), is planning to invest $6bn in a new 230,000 barrel-a-day (b/d) refinery in Al-Wusta governorate on the sultanate’s central coast.

DRPI received commercial bids on the feed contract in August, but is still assessing the proposals along with bids for the project’s process technology contract. According to a source close to the bidding process, the feed bidders include:

  • Bechtel (US)
  • CB&I Lummus (US)
  • Foster Wheeler (US)
  • KBR (US)
  • Technip (France)

“The final prices went in at the end of August and it has gone slow. They haven’t made any selection on the feed,” says an industry source. “The technology bids went in even earlier in the year and they still haven’t awarded that either.”

The feed phase of the project is expected to be carried out over 14 months after the contract is awarded.

The lengthy process of tendering and awarding these early contracts is part of the reason for delays in the timeline of the estimated $6bn project, which is a cornerstone of Oman’s oil and gas strategy over the coming decade.

A senior manager at OOC said in late October that the project is now expected to be completed by the end of 2018, pushing the back from a previous start-up target of 2017.  

The refinery will be based on importing crude from outside of Oman and exporting refined products to the international market.

DRPI is planning to build a petrochemicals complex for the second phase of the scheme, but this is still being studied.