UK consultancy Wood Mackenzie has won a contract to study the feasibility of a major new refinery planned by Abu Dhabi fund International Petroleum Investment Company (Ipic) in Fujairah.

The company submitted its proposal for the study in early April as part of a competitive bid round, sources close to the project say. It was awarded the deal on 19 July.

Wood Mackenzie will complete a market study on the potential demand for the plant’s output, along with competing suppliers and price forecasts. It will also perform a technical and commercial evaluation of the best configuration for the plant.

MEED reported in January 2009 that Ipic was reviewing its plans for the refinery in the light of slowing global economy and financial crisis. The fund had already cut the size of the planned plant from 500,000 barrels a day (b/d) to 200,000 b/d.

If the new refinery is seen to be feasible, Ipic will look for a partner to help develop the project, sources close to the scheme say.

In 2008, Ipic held talks with the US’ Occidental Petroleum (Oxy) and an unnamed European oil major to act as a potential partner on the refinery.

Ipic had previously signed an agreement with the US’ Conoco-Phillips to carry out a feasibility study for the Fujairah refinery in 2006, following a study by US-based Foster Wheeler, which is acting as a technical adviser to Wood Mackenzie on the new study. Conoco pulled out a year later, citing rising construction costs.

In July, MEED reported that Ipic and its partner Oman Oil Company had commissioned a feasibility study for their planned refining and petrochemicals complex at Duqm in Oman (MEED 29:7:2010).