Qatar, Tunisia revive $2bn Skhira oil refinery project

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Tunisian Foreign Affairs Minister Rafik Abdessalem(R) meets with Qatar's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Khalid bin Muhammad Al Atiyah on 15 May 2012 in Tunis. Al Atiyah is on two day official visit to Tunisia. Photo - Getty Images

Qatari government has announced plans to revive Tunisia’s second refinery and is seeking a partner for the $2bn project.

“The costs of the project are very high, and it may require another partner,” Khalid Al-Attiyah, Qatar’s minister for international cooperation, told reporters in the Tunisian capital Tuesday. He did not elaborate on the costs.

During a news conference, the Qatari minister said cooperation between the two Arab nations is taking place in all sectors of the economy including agriculture, energy, food industry, infrastructure, real estate and tourism.

Qatar Petroleum won a bid to build the refinery at Skhira in 2007 as part of a joint venture with London-based Petrofac. The project was later shelved. The new government, elected after last year’s uprising that ousted Tunisia’s longtime dictator Ben Ali, agreed to revive the refinery project, which would have an initial capacity of 120,000 bpd, eventually rising to 250,000 barrels.

Tunisia’s only refinery has a capacity of 34,000 bpb.

Tunisian Minister of Industry Mohammed Amine Alchakara hoped production would start in 2014 or 2015, the official TAP news agency reported.

The talks between the two delegations also involved about the implementation of projects including a housing and tourism project in the Tozeur desert resort in southern Tunisia.

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