Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company’s (Orpic’s) plans to develop a $2.6bn plastics petrochemicals plant in Sohar are progressing, following the appointment of a financial adviser.

Orpic has confirmed that Japanese bank Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) will be advising the company on how to fund the forthcoming project. Prospective advisers were invited to bid in April.

The Liwa Plastics Project is one of three major expansion plans being developed by Orpic to expand and improve the industrial area in Sohar.

The other two are the Sohar refinery improvement project and the Muscat-Sohar pipeline.

Orpic raised a $2.8bn project financing in May this year to fund the upgrade of the Sohar refinery.

A total of 21 local, regional and international banks participated in the refinery financing, including several export credit agencies (ECAs).  It is one of the largest financings signed in Oman to date.

Orpic is aiming to have the Liwa Plastics Project completed by 2018.

The tendering of the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts is due to start in December this year, with awards scheduled by April 2015, according to Orpic.

EPC contractors were invited to prequalify for the scheme in September.

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 polypropylene.