Saudi Aramco and France’s Total are planning to begin outlining bank debt allocations on their $9.6bn Jubail export refinery project before the end of November, according to bankers close to the project.

“The sponsors are still clarifying some issues with a few of the banks and discussions with the export credit agencies (ECAs) will take some time, but the lenders should get an idea of their allocations by the end of November,” says a banker working on the deal.

The bank allocations will outline which banks are lending, and how much, to each of the debt tranches on the project. Getting the bank allocations out by the end of November will be crucial if the sponsors are to keep to their preferred timetable of completing the financing by the end of 2009.

“The sponsors want to close this deal by the end of the year, which is achievable but there is still a lot of work to be done,” adds the banker.

The deal is split between two tranches of $1.4bn offered to the Saudi banks and international banks, $2.2bn of loans guaranteed by ECAs, and $3.3bn in direct loans from ECAs, the Saudi Industrial Development Fund, and the Public Investment Fund. The debt was oversubscribed by the 18 September deadline for financing bids.

The UK’s HSBC has also been appointed to arrange a bond on the deal, although it is still uncertain if the bond will be issued (MEED 28:10:09). The project is being developed by joint venture company Saudi Aramco & Total Refining & Petrochemical Company (Satorp).