Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company (Orpic) expects to announce the prequalified bidders for its Sohar Refinery expansion project in the next two-to-four weeks.

Orpic chief executive officer Musab al-Mahruqi told Times of Oman that the engineering procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the project is expected to be awarded by the end of the year.

The estimated $1.5-1.8bn project will expand the capacity of the refinery in Sohar, northern Oman, by more than 60 per cent to 187,000 barrels a day (b/d) from 116,000 b/d.

About 15 contractors are expected to be shortlisted for prequalification from an initial figure of 35 for EPC packages.

Al-Mahruqi said that the front-end engineering design (feed) phase, which is being carried out by CB&I Lummus, is 80 per cent complete.