Industry sources say that more than 10 banks, mainly local, have agreed to underwrite the $1,154 million loan facility. The tenor and rate of the loan are understood to be still under discussion. JUPC’s financial adviser is Gulf International Bank.

JUPC in November awarded a consortium led by the US’ Halliburton KBRthe estimated $350 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the main ethylene plant. The 1 million-tonne-a-year (t/y) cracker is scheduled for completion in July 2004.

The complex will also include a 575,000-t/y EG unit and a 150,000-t/y linear alpha olefins unit. Five companies were invited to submit technical bids for the EG package by 26 December and commercial bids by 24 January. They are understood to be South Korea’s Samsung Engineering, France’s Technip, Japan’s Toyo Engineering Corporation, and ABB Lummus Global and Foster Wheeler Corporation, both of the US.