International Petroleum Investment Company (Ipic) has formed a joint venture to build a US$6 billion (Dh22.04bn) refinery and petrochemicals complex in Oman.The Duqm Refinery and Petrochemicals Industry Company - owned equally by Ipic and the Oman Oil Company (OOC) - will process 230,000 barrel per day (bpd) by 2017 in its first phase, Ipic said yesterday. This will be followed by petrochemicals facilities. \"[The project] will play a vital role in supporting the oil and petrochemicals industries in Oman due to the strategic location of the Duqm area, adjacent to one of the world\'s key shipping trade routes,\" said Nasser bin Khamis Al Jashmi, OOC\'s chairman. Ipic earlier this year announced plans for a 200,000 bpd refinery in Fujairah to be completed by 2016 at an estimated cost of $3bn. Owned by the Abu Dhabi Government, the investor already controls Spain\'s largest refinery company, Cepsa, and Nova, a petrochemicals maker in Canada. It has also been considering refinery projects in Jordan, Morocco and Pakistan. The Duqm venture marks a strengthening of relations between Oman and the UAE, which had been strained over allegations of espionage in January last year. \"This project is a very important project for our two countries,\" said Khadem Al Qubaisi, the managing director at Ipic. Other governments in the region are keen to develop downstream industries. Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) is expanding its Ruwais refinery to a capacity of 800,000 bpd, while the emirate is also behind projects such as the Abu Dhabi Polymers Company (Borouge), a joint venture between Adnoc and Austria\'s Borealis.from the national.