Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company (Takreer) has started the bidding process for a $50m project to improve the quality of the gasoline it produces at its Ruwais refining complex.

The winning bidder on the engineering, procurement and construction contract will build facilities to process high-octane gasoline products. Takreer has called the scheme the isomerate quality improvement project.

An invitation to bid on the deal was sent out to prequalified contractors in late 2009 and the deadline for technical bids is 24 February.

At least five companies have been prequalified for the deal, including Italy’s Saipem, Paris-based Technip and Germany’s Uhde, according to sources close to the deal.

At least two contractors plan to ask Takreer for more time to prepare their bids on the deal as it is technically challenging, according to a source at an engineering firm. The number of higher-profile deals on offer in the emirate has also distracted attention from smaller deals such as the isomerate scheme, he says.

Spain’s Tecnicas Reunidas completed the front-end engineering and design on the project in late 2009.

Contractors value the deal at about $50m.