Under the MoUs, Aramco and Total will each hold 35 per cent stakes in the Jubail 2 refinery project company; a similar shareholding structure is envisaged between Aramco and ConocoPhillips in the Yanbu project company. The remaining 30 per cent shares in each of the new project companies will be offered to local investors through initial public offerings (IPOs). White & Case is acting as the legal adviser.

Aramco and Total will soon undertake a joint front-end engineering and design (FEED) study for the Jubail 2 facility; for the Yanbu refinery, Aramco and ConocoPhillips will carry out a detailed evaluation of the proposed facility.

In parallel, bids are due to be submitted by 31 May for the contracts to carry out combined FEED and project management consultancy (PMC) services on each refinery. Awards on both contracts are due in early July. The successful contractors will carry out a detailed feasibility study and also work out the contracting strategy. Both projects are due to be completed by 2011.