OMAN: Bidders to prequalify for USD 3.6 billion Liwa Plastics EPC

A ‘Request for Information' has been issued to a number of local and international engineering contractors inviting them to affirm their interest in bidding for the multibillion dollar Engineering-Procurement-Construction (EPC) package of the mammoth petrochemicals project.

Interested parties have until 29 June 2014 to respond to the ‘Request for Information', it is learnt.

The Liwa Plastics Project, along with an array of equally substantial investments planned by Orpic and Oman Oil Company in Sohar and Duqm, promise to position Oman as a world-class petrochemicals producer of the future.

Liwa Plastics itself has the makings of a world-scale venture.  The giant scheme is proposed to be established adjacent to the ongoing Sohar Refinery Improvement Project (SRIP) under way at the industrial port of Sohar.

It features, among other things, a nominal 900,000 tonne per year ethylene cracking plant, HDPE plant, LLDPE plant, new polypropylene plant, MTBE plant, butene-1 plant and associated utility and offsite facilities.  

Also envisioned as part of this project is a Natural Gas Liquids extraction facility, which will be set up at Fahud and linked to the Sohar plant via a roughly 300km pipeline.

Importantly, the Liwa petrochemical plant will be integrated with Orpic's existing Sohar refinery, aromatics complex and polypropylene plant to create a massive petrochemicals complex within the industrial port.

According to officials, feedstock for the plant will comprise a blend of, among other things, natural gas liquids (C2+), which will be extracted from the natural gas flowing through the government gas grid in Central Oman.

Added to the mix will be LPG produced by the adjoining refinery and aromatics complex, as well as dry gas produced by the refinery's RFCC unit, and new delayed coking  unit planned as part of the Sohar Refinery Improvement Project.

At the same time, some intermediate products and byproducts from Liwa Plastics will be returned to the existing integrated refinery, aromatics complex and polypropylene plant for assimilation and further processing.

Based on the submissions received in response to its ‘Request for Information' document, Orpic hopes to kick off the process of prequalifying contractors for the prestigious EPC package sometime next month.

Interested bidders deemed by Orpic to be competent enough to execute and commission the giant scheme will be invited to participate in an EPC tender planned to be floated next January.

Significantly, Orpic is weighing an EPC contracting strategy that could see the entire project either tendered out as one package or split up into a number of smaller packages.  In fact, as many as three contracting options are currently under consideration, say officials.

Option 1 envisions the award of the entire EPC package as one single Lump Sum Turn-Key (LSTK) contract.

The second option calls for the tendering of the project as three main EPC contracts: (a) Steam Cracker with offsite works and utilities; (b) Polyethylene and Polypropylene Units with offsite works and utilities; and (c) Natural Gas Liquids extraction units with offsite works and utilities.

Option 3 moots a break-up of the entire project scope into six main EPC contracts, comprising (a) Steam Cracker (b) Polyethylene Unit (c) Polypropylene Unit (d) NGL Extraction Unit (e) NGL pipeline, and (f) Offsite works and utilities.  

A final decision on the EPC contracting strategy will be taken before the EPC package is tendered out, it is learnt.

Liwa Plastics, Oman's largest petrochemical venture to date, is expected to be commissioned before the end of 2018.

Source: "Oman Observer", Muscat; 21 June 2014
(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)