The promoters say that they expect all the major agreements on the estimated $500 million project to be finalised in the coming months, while financial close is scheduled to be achieved in the first quarter of 2003. In addition, a gas supply agreement has been reached with the Oil & Gas Ministry and basic engineering has started. The plant, scheduled to enter production in mid 2005, is expected to be built by Ferrostaal, part of Germany’s MANgroup.

The 5,000-tonne-a-day plant is one of three industrial projects proposed for the Sohar industrial area. The others are a $550 million fertiliser complex, planned by the local Bahwan Trading Company, and a $2,000 million aluminium smelter, under consideration by OOC, Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority and Canada’s Alcan(Oman, MEED Special Report, 26:4:02).