Qatar’s Ras Laffan Refinery Company (RLC) is expected to award the main contract on its $1.2bn phase two refinery expansion in the coming days after reaching a new shareholder agreement on the project, according to a senior executive at joint-venture partner Total.

Earlier this month, market sources told MEED that the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) deal is set to be awarded to a consortium of Taiwan’s CTCI and Japan-based Chiyoda Corporation.

This has now been all but confirmed by Patrick Pouyanne, president of Total’s refining and petrochemicals division who, speaking at a conference in Paris, said the project “will be built by very reputable Japanese and Taiwanese companies”.

“We were [in Qatar this week] signing the shareholder agreement. We signed it because we have all the tenders in our hand and we want to award the main contract in the coming days,” Pouyanne said.

The Ras Laffan refinery expansion, will process an additional 146,000 barrels a day (b/d) of condensate recovered from one of the world’s largest non-associated gas fields, the North Field. Technip carried out the front-end engineering and design (feed) for the project.

State-owned Qatar Petroleum (QP) is the leading shareholder of the existing RLC refinery with a holding of 51 per cent. The US’ ExxonMobil, France’s Total, Malaysia’s Idemitsu, and Japan’s Cosmo hold 10 per cent each. Japan’s Mitsui and Marubeni, each have 4.5 per cent.

“Between Ras Laffan refinery one and Ras Laffan refinery two there are some changes in the shareholdings. QP has increased its share, but Total has maintained its share at 10 per cent,” said Pouyanne, who added that fewer shares would be held by Japanese partners in the second phase.

“We are sure that the cost of the project is $1.2bn… it is $200m under our expectations,” Pouyanne added. “There was good competition [for the EPC contract] maybe because there were huge waves of projects in Qatar and there are less projects coming in the coming years as liquefied natural gas (LNG) trains are being built… Today this is coming in the right window, so we received good prices.”