Oman Oil Refineries & Petroleum Industries Company (Orpic) has awarded two major contracts on its $3.6bn Liwa Plastics petrochemicals project in Sohar.

The scheme’s front-end engineering & design (feed) contract, which includes the cracker technology licence, was awarded to US-based CB&I. The company won it ahead US-based KBR, Germany’s Linde Group and France-based Technip, which all bid for the feed tender after it was floated in August 2013.

The feed phase will lead to the tender of the project’s engineering, procurement and construction (EPC). Orpic expects a decision on prequalifying companies to be made by the end of 2014.

Orpic has also awarded the project management consultancy contract to Engineers India Limited (EIL).

Liwa Plastics is expected to be completed by 2018, doubling Orpic’s profitability by extracting higher-value products from its crude and gas supplies.

The steam cracker will be fuelled with a combination of natural gas liquids, refined dry-gas, mixed liquid petroleum gas and condensate. Any ethane and propane produced during the cracking process will be recycled back into the furnace section.

The petrochemicals plant complex will have the capacity to produce high-density polyethylene (HDPE), linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), polypropylene (PP) methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and butane-1.

The project has a total planned capacity of 1 million tonnes a year (t/y ) of plastics and, after its completion, Orpic will have the capacity to produce 1.4 million t/y of polyethylene and polyproylene.

Liwa Plastics received a natural gas allocation from the Oil & Gas Ministry in 2013. It will be connected to the Fahud gas plant in central Oman via a 300-kilometre pipeline.