South Korea’s Hanwha Engineering & Construction is understood to have been the only one of the five prequalified international contractors to bid for the estimated $80m-120m engineering, procurement, construction and installation contract.

The other prequalifers, the US’ CBI Lummus, Athens-based Consolidated Contractors international Company (CCC), Hyundai Engineering of South Korea and Germany’s Uhde, are believed to have declined to bid after the client Oman Refineries & Petrochemicals Company (ORPC) refused to extend the deadline for bids.

Oman’s tender regulations state that at least two bids must be received for a public sector contract if evaluation is to proceed. As a result bidding on the the project will now have to be restarted, with prequalifiers given more time to prepare their offers, or it will have to be retendered.

The scheme covers the construction of vacuum distillation, bitumen blowing, propane de-asphalting and utility units at the refinery, as well as offsite facilities. Engineers India is the consultant (MEED 26:2:08).

ORPC was formed last year following a royal decree merging Sohar Refinery Company with Oman Oil Refinery Company. It is 75 per cent owned by the Finance Ministry and 25 per cent by Oman Oil Company (MEED 18:8:07).