Tunisia and Qatar signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Saturday whereby Qatar Petroleum would construct a refinery at Sukhaira Port, along Tunisia’s southern coast, with a production capacity of 150,000 barrels per day.
The construction of the refinery, slated to come into operation in the year 2011, would cost USD two billion.
The MoU was signed by Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Electricity and Water Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah and Tunisian Minister of Industry, Energy, and Small- and Medium-Size Enterprises Afif Chelbi.
Speaking to reporters after the signing of the MoU, the Qatari minister expressed his country’s desire to invest in Tunisia, saying this agreement was "an important building block" in boosting economic cooperation between the two countries.
Earlier, Al-Attiyah had met with Tunisian Prime Minister Mohammad Al-Ghannouchi to discuss means of boosting cooperation in the power and oil sectors.
Following these "fruitful" talks, which focused on the construction of the refinery, Al-Attiyah reiterated Qatar’s commitment to completing this mega project.
The Qatari minister hoped the project would achieve the aspired economic success, adding that technical studies for the refinery would be completed before the end of this year.
Meanwhile, the Tunisian Ministry of Industry, Energy, and Small- and Medium-Size Enterprises said in a statement that this refinery would allow the country to supply oil to local and foreign markets, and thus further guaranteeing sufficient oil supplies for the country.
Qatar Petroleum had won a bid for the refinery’s construction in which companies from the Gulf states, India, Britain, and Italy took part.
The Qatari company had signed a similar agreement two weeks ago with the government of Panama for the construction of a refinery with a production capacity of 350,000 barrels per day.

(Kuwait News Agency KUNA)