International and regional banks have been approached to pitch for the mandate, and responses are understood to be due before the end of the month.
Sources close to GPIC say the project is expected to require around $1bn of debt and the company is due to appoint a financial adviser before the end of the third quarter. All of the major project finance players have been approached about this mandate, and some of the local banks as well as they seem to be keen to get some local bank involvement, says one banker intending to pitch for the mandate.
The project involves an expansion of GPICs Sitra complex to nearly triple capacity by adding a new ammonia plant, a granular urea plant and urea granulation unit. Once completed, annual capacity would rise to 1.5 million tonnes.
GPIC has been planning the expansion for years, although it only received a gas allocation from the Bahrain government in early 2012.
GPIC is owned by Bahrains National Oil & Gas Authority (Noga), Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, and Petrochemicals Industries Company of Kuwait.