Qatar’s government has revived a $2 billion plan to build Tunisia’s second refinery, and may need a partner for the project.

Qatari minister for international cooperation, Khalid Al-Attiyah told reporters in Tunisia yesterday that the costs of the project are “very high” and the investment “may require another partner”.

He gave no further detail as to the conditions of partnership.

In 2007, Qatar Petroleum won a bid to build the refinery at Skhira as part of a joint venture with London-based Petrofac. However, the project was later discarded.

After last year’s uprising that ousted Tunisia’s longtime president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and ushered in new Islamist-led government, the government agreed to revive the refinery, which would have an initial capacity of 120,000 bpd, eventually rising to 250,000 barrels.

Presently, Tunisia’s only refinery, which located at Bizerte and  operated by the Société Tunisienne des Industries du Raffinage (STIR), has a capacity of 34,000 bpb.

The new refinery is expected to reduce Tunisia’s reliance on fuel imports, which have risen in price in recent years, straining the country’s budget, and could eventually allow Tunisia to export refined fuel.

The refinery will also include processing units, storage, and offices. It will provide up to 1,200 jobs.

According to the official TAP news agency reports,  Tunisian Minister of Industry Mohammed Amine Alchakara confirmed that the project is to commence this month with production starting in 2014 or 2015.


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