One of the shortlisted bidders, ConocoPhillips, has already received bids from at least three companies – Parsons E&C, part of Australia’s WorleyParsons, and Foster Wheelerand Jacobs Engineering, both of the US – for a front-end loading (FEL) contract covering pre-feasibility studies for the new refinery.

The next stage in the project implementation will be the issue of tenders for detailed cost analysis and process design.

The estimated $5,000 million refinery will have nameplate capacity of 400,000 barrels a day and will be designed to process heavy fuels to produce gasoline, diesel, petroleum coke, bitumen and vacuum gas-oil (VGO), besides other clean fuels.

In September, Parsons E&C submitted a study for the project. The study recommended the utilisation of three process streams to be driven by a varying mix of feedstock.