(Bloomberg) --

Oman energy firm OQ SAOC has picked Bank of America Corp. and Bank Muscat to advise on the initial public offering of its gas pipelines unit, according to people familiar with the matter, as the sultanate kickstarts its privatization program.

The IPO of OQ Gas Network could raise as much as $800 million, one of the people said, asking not to be identified as the information isn’t public. OQ has also discussed the possibility of a dual listing in Muscat and Saudi Arabia, the people said.

More banks may be added to the deal, while details such as its size and the listing location may change, the people said.

Representatives for OQ and Bank Muscat didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. A representative for Bank of America declined to comment.

The OQ share sale is part of Oman Investment Authority’s plan to bolster state coffers. Across the energy-rich Gulf, governments are readying plans to sell assets to fund the diversification of their economies, attract international investors and boost trading volumes. 

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are in the midst of such programs, which have fueled a boom in IPOs and led to a record start to the year for offerings in the Middle East.

State Sales

In June, Oman said it was considering selling shares in two of OQ’s units, as well as a manufacturing firm, without revealing the names. The country has only had a small number of IPOs in the last decade. The most recent sizable deal was Omani Qatari Telecommunications Co.’s IPO in 2010 that raised $475 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

If OQ opts for a dual listing, it would be one of the Middle East’s first. Americana Group, the operator of KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants across the region, is planning to list in Abu Dhabi and Riyadh.

OQ is an integrated energy firm with oil and gas exploration, production operations, refineries, a retail network and a large petrochemical business.

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