Commercial bids for the EPC package are due to be returned in January, while an award is expected in the spring.

The project will see capacity at the refinery rise to 8.25 million tonnes a year (t/y), equivalent to 165,000 barrels a day, from the existing 6.25 million t/y. It will focus on maximising low-sulphur diesel production and minimising fuel oil output. The scope of work covers the installation of a full conversion hydrocracker, licensed by the US’ Chevron Lummus Global, and a visbreaker unit, licensed by the Royal Dutch/Shell Group. In addition, a diesel hydrotreater, licensed by the US’ UOP, and a sulphur unit, licensed by the US’ Parsons Corporation, will be installed. Other planned works include a hydrogen plant, a crude and vacuum unit, an amine unit, offsites and utilities.

The UK’s Foster Wheeler Energyhas prepared the front-end engineering and design (FEED) package under its overall project management consultancy (PMC) contract. The company will also be involved in the evaluation of bids and management of the EPC contractor through to final performance tests.

The expansion will be financed through a combination of export credits and commercial borrowing. Samir is owned by Stockholm-based, Saudi-owned Corral Petroleum Holdings. It has the monopoly on the local refining industry – also operating the much smaller Sidi Kacem refinery, which has total capacity of 1.5 million t/y (MEED 13:8:99).