State-run Oman Oil Company (OOC) plans to launch a study into the feasibility of building a refinery and petrochemicals complex at Duqm, one of the largest complexes in the Gulf, in the first half of 2010.

A source close to the project says the oil firm decided to proceed with the project after it secured financial support from Abu Dhabi’s state-run International Petroleum Investment Company (Ipic), in a memorandum of understanding signed on 8 October.

“The two companies are looking at the future costs of the project and will be meeting before the end of the year to move things forward,” says the source. “As part of that, a new feasibility study will be commissioned although it has yet to be determined if that will be done in-house or tendered formally.”

In November 2008, OOC put the 300,000-barrel-a-day refinery and 1.2 million tonne-a-year polypropylene plant on hold because it could not raise project finance for the deal.

At that time, the Omani national oil company said it needed an international partner to help fund the project (MEED 7:11:08).

The source says OOC has not set a timetable for the main contracts to build the refinery and petrochemicals complex.