The client is a team of Malaysia’s Petronas with the Energy & Mining Ministry, which signed an agreement in late 2005 to develop jointly the new refinery. Petronas and the ministry each hold a 50 per cent stake in the project.

The FEED package is due to be completed in the third quarter, with a tender set to be issued for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract in late 2006. Commissioning is due in early 2009.

Feedstock for the proposed refinery will be sourced from blocks 3 and 7 in the Melut basin, which is operated by the local Petrodar Operating Company (POC). Petronas holds a 40 per cent stake in POC. The other shareholders are China National Petroleum Corporation (41 per cent), the local Sudapet (8 per cent), Doha-based Gulf Petroleum Company (6 per cent) and Dubai-based Thani Corporation (5 per cent). First production from the Melut basin is due to start in August at 150,000 b/d, increasing to 200,000 b/d by late 2006.