Q-Chem II is planning to issue in November the long-awaited engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) tender for its high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and alpha olefins complex at Mesaieed, Klett said. Unpriced bids are expected to be submitted in early March and commercial bids late in the second quarter. Prequalifiers for the contract are understood to include: South Korea’s LG Engineering & Construction, with Spain’s Tecnicas Reunidas; Italy’s Tecnimont; Paris-based Technip; and South Korea’s Daelim Industrial Company, with Europe’s ABB. The estimated $600 million project involves the construction of a 350,000-tonne-a-year (t/y) HDPE unit and an alpha olefins plant of similar capacity.

Klett said that commercial bids for the Ras Laffan ethylene cracker, which will have capacity of 1.3 million t/y, will be opened in the first quarter of 2005. Four international groups submitted technical proposals for the ethylene technology-cum-EPC contract earlier this year. They are: US-based ABB Lummus Global, with Italy’s Snamprogetti; the US’ Shaw International, formerly known as Stone & Webster, with Japan’s JGC Corporation; Technip; and Germany’s Linde, with South Korea’s Samsung Engineering Corporation.

Q-Chem II is looking for about $800 million of debt financing to cover its share of the cracker and the Mesaieed downstream unit. Of the total, about $250 million will be covered by export credits, for which the PIM is due to be sent out to the US Export-Import Bank in November. A second PIM, covering the commercial bank tranche of about $550 million, is due to be issued in January/February, Klett said.

The local/French Qatofin, which is the other shareholder in the Ras Laffan cracker and the client for new low-density polyethylene (LDPE) units at Mesaieed, will also issue its bank PIM at about the same time. Unlike Q-Chem, Qatofin is not seeking an export credits tranche. Financial close on the Q-Chem II/Qatofin projects is set for the fourth quarter of 2005.