Kuwait will sign a partnership agreement to develop Duqm Refinery – Oman’s largest single phase project – on April 10, according to Kuwaiti Oil Minister Essam al-Marzouk.

Kuwait Petroleum International replaced International Petroleum Investment Company (Ipic), which exited its 50:50 joint venture with Oman Oil Company to develop the 230,000 barrel-a-day last year.

Abu Dhabi-headquartered Ipic pulled out of the petrochemical complex project in the Omani port city of Duqm citing that the project no longer fit in with its investment strategy.

The Duqm complex has been allocated a nine million-square-metre site, where levelling work has been completed as per schedule. A final investment decision on the multi-billion dollar project will be taken by the second quarter of 2017.

MEED reported that Duqm refinery has shortlisted two consortia for the engineering, procurement and construction contract for phase one of the project, which includes a package for oil processing facilities.

Bids have also been submitted for the second package covering facilities, utilities tankage and buildings to support process.

MEED also reported that the final package on the Duqm project, which includes the development of the region’s largest crude tank farm at Ras Markaz received technical bids.

The development of Duqm refinery forms part of Oman’s efforts to diversify its economy, through integrated energy and logistics projects in towns such as Sohar and Salalah.