The refinery has invited bids from local, regional as well as international contractors.

Duqm Refinery project director Jacobus Nieuwenhuijze was quoted by Times of Oman as saying: "The journey has just begun, the release of the EPC pre-qualification tender is a very significant step in the Duqm refinery’s book of achievements.

"We aim to benchmark our success at the international level by setting high standards in operation and in adding value to an area that is believed to be the economic hub of Oman and a major player in the region."

The refinery plans to announce the final tender later once all the competing bids have been processed.

Oman Oil Company and International Petroleum Investment Company formed a joint venture called Duqm Refinery and Petrochemical Industries Company (DRPIC).

The partnership between the two companies has led to the setting of the Duqm refinery at Al Duqm.