The Energy & Mineral Resources Ministry is looking to attract a strategic investor by the fourth quarter of 2006 for the estimated $700 million modernisation and expansion of the kingdom’s sole crude oil refinery at Zarqa (MEED 26:5:06).

The expansion aims to upgrade the refinery to meet tighter environmental standards such as Euro 4 and raise refining capacity to about 130,000 barrels a day (b/d) from 25,000 b/d. The project, which is expected to be completed by 2010-11, is part of the restructuring programme of Jordan Petroleum Refinery Company (JPRC), which operates and manages the refinery.

‘We plan to establish new logistics, marketing and retail companies,’ Energy & Mineral Resources Minister Azmi Khreisat told MEED on 3 July. ‘Expressions of interest for the logistics and marketing companies will be issued in September.’

According to Khreisat, three new companies will be set up as part of the programme: a logistics company to manage the storage of refined products; a marketing company, which will either buy refined products from Zarqa refinery or import refined products; and a retail company to purchase refined products from the marketing company and operate retail stations to supply customers.

The ministry is considering five options to supply the refinery with crude oil. It may import crude oil by road or via pipeline from Iraq. Imports may also come via the existing Saudi Arabian tapline’ or crude oil may be shipped to the port of Aqaba and then transported by rail or by pipeline to the refinery. ‘A crude oil feedstock pipeline will also be included as part of the refinery expansion project,’ he says.

Citigroup is the financial adviser on the refinery scheme. The UK’s Channoil Consulting is carrying out due diligence on the assets of JPRC and is due to complete its study by late summer. An international law firm identified as Houstin International Business is carrying out a legal and regulatory framework study.