State oil major Saudi Aramco has confirmed that it has awarded UAE-based Drake & Scull International a SR2bn ($533m) contract to build the commercial buildings for the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies Research Centre (Kapsarc) in Riyadh.

MEED reported in January that Drake & Scull had been selected for the main construction package on the construction project. Drake & Scull saw off competition from the Turkish company Baytur Construction & Contracting Company, as well as local contractors El-Seif Engineering & Contracting and Saudi Oger (MEED 21:1:11).

Drake & Scull will start work on the development immediately and the project is set for completion in August 2012.

The work will involve the construction of the main buildings that includes basic retail facilities and a research centre, library and conference hall designed by London-based Zaha Hadid Architects.

Kapsarc’s main building will be a crystalline structure composed of modular six-sided cells with connections between them. The development will also contain indoor and outdoor gardens, shaded outdoor areas and underground tunnels. The conference building will include a large multipurpose hall and various smaller halls and meeting rooms.

In May 2010, Saudi Aramco awarded South Korea’s SK Engineering & Construction the estimated SR1.9bn contract to build the residential buildings at Kapsarc.

The project will involve the construction of 188 villas, two apartment blocks, a clubhouse and associated infrastructure.

Kapsarc is located 8 kilometres south of King Khalid International airport and was originally supposed to be tendered as a single contract. Aramco subsequently decided to split the contract into separate packages for the residential buildings and commercial buildings. The total complex will cover an area of 466,000 square metres.

Aramco launched the Kapsarc project in March 2009 as part of a $60bn investment programme, which includes the development of offshore and onshore oil production facilities (MEED 21:5:10).