The two groups bid for the original lead arranging mandate in 2002, before engineering procurement and construction (EPC) bids came in above budget and the deal was put on hold (MEED 28:6:02). The first group comprises Gulf Investment Bank, Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation andNational Bank of Bahrain, with an Islamic tranche supported by Dubai Islamic Bank and an export credits facility backed by Citibank. The second consists of Arab Banking Corporation, Bank of Bahrain & Kuwait, HSBC and BNP Paribas, with an Islamic tranche supported by Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank. ‘With the award of the EPCM [engineering, procurement and construction management] contract imminent, there is renewed momentum on the financing,’ said one of the bidders on the sidelines of MEED’s Project Finance conference in Bahrain on 7-8 October. ‘A mandate should be awarded in the next few weeks.’

The original preliminary information memorandum asked for $650 million and sought a tenor of about 12 years. However, an offer remains on the table from Kuwait Finance House to provide an independent $100 million Islamic loan.

Japan’s JGC Corporation was low bidder at $431.6 million when revised prices were submitted in August for the EPCM contract on the refinery expansion. Bapco expects to make an award by the end of the year (MEED 5:9:03).