Worth an estimated $1,200 million, the 37-month lump-sum turnkey (LSTK) contract covers the construction of a 790,000-tonne-a-year (t/y) paraxylene unit and a 210,000-t/y benzene plant plus associated offsites and utilities work.

France’s Axens is the licensed technology provider and carried out basic engineering. The US’ Jacobs Engineering is the front-end engineering and design (FEED) contractor. Naphtha feedstock will be sourced from the Sohar refinery.

LG will hold a 20 per cent stake in AOL, with Oman Oil Company (OOC) taking a 60 per cent stake, and Oman Refinery Company (ORC) holding the remainder. Allen & Overy and Al-Alawi Masoor Jamal are legal advisers to AOL, while HSBC is financial adviser. The client says it expects financial close on the $400 million debt package to take place by the end of July. Project completion is forecast for June 2009, with first production starting two months later. The Sohar ethylene dichloride (EDC) project, planned by the local Liwa Petrochemical Company, has been put on hold pending a financing agreement. HSBC is again financial adviser on the $800 million scheme, which involves the construction of a 300,000-t/y EDC unit and a 240,000-t/y caustic soda facility.