The market sounding exercise concluded on 17 June for the financing of the Rabigh integrated refining and petrochemicals development, a 50:50 joint venture between Saudi Aramcoand Japan’s Sumitomo Chemical Company, with early indications suggesting that the sponsors received a strong response. The overall size of the debt package is likely to be about $5,500 million, reflecting engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) costs increases, which have pushed the price tag up to $8,000 million from the $4,300 million envisaged.The client plans to issue the preliminary information memorandum (PIM) swiftly after studying the responses. Japan Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC) is expected to provide some $2,500 million and the Public Investment Fund about $1,000 million, alongside 15-year commercial debt of some $2,000 million, with banks asked to take underwriting positions of $150 million and final hold positions of $100 million (MEED 10:6:05). A market sounding exercise has also been launched for the debt package for Jubail-based Eastern Petrochemical Company (Sharq)covering the $2,300 million expansion of its olefins complex. The client, a 50:50 joint venture between Sabic and a group of Japanese companies led by Mitsubishi Corporation, is likely to seek about $1,000 million of commercial debt with JBIC again providing 50-60 per cent of the finance. Sumitomo-Mitsui Banking Corporationis acting as financial adviser on Rabigh while Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishiis advising on Sharq.