Construction work began on 1 September on the estimated $550 million main engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the phase 1 rehabilitation of the refinery, won in June by a consortium of Italy’s Snamprogetti and Turkey’s Tekfen (MEED 5:8:05).

Samir is also looking to finalise the debt financing package on the project. International banks are to provide about $300 million, local banks about $200 million and the African Development Bank (AfDB) about $85 million. Samir will provide equity of about $300 million, about a quarter of which is already in place.

The local debt will be split between Banque Marocaine du Commerce Exterieur (BMCE)and Attijari Wafabank, with the international portion to be jointly lead arranged by Barclays Capital and BNP Paribas. Coverage of 75 per cent of the international portion is expected to be agreed with Italian export credit agency SACE by the end of September. The local, AfDB and covered international tranches will all have a tenor of 13 years, including a three-year grace period. The uncovered international tranche will have a 10.5-year tenor, also including a three-year grace period. (MEED 10:6:05).