Saudi Aramco has awarded all four engineering procurement and construction (EPC) packages for the Shaybah natural gas liquids (NGL) project in Saudi Arabia to South Korea’s Samsung Engineering.

The contracts are worth about $3bn in total and means Samsung will be responsible for the whole Shaybah NGL project, which is located in the kingdom’s Empty Quarter.

“Samsung has been the frontrunner for some time, but it is still a surprise to see one company being awarded all four packages on one megaproject,” says a contracting source.

MEED reported in February that South Korean EPC contractors dominated the shortlist (MEED 17:2:11).

Work on the project is expected to start at the end of March after the final letters have been received. Completion is expected in 2014.

All work on the cogeneration package will be carried out in-kingdom, with initial work on the NGL recovery plant, gas treatment facility and utilities being conducted in Seoul before transferring to Saudi Arabia.

“Samsung Engineering does not need a local partner for its in-kingdom EPC status due to the amount of Saudis they have working for them already,” the source says. “I don’t know if this was a factor or not in Aramco’s decision.” 

The Shaybah NGL project will see Aramco separate about 228,000 barrels a day (b/d) of NGL from crude oil produced at the Shaybah field in the Empty Quarter of the kingdom. Phase one of the gas processing facilities will involve the construction of two NGL trains. Ethane and propane will also be produced.

The US’ KBR is the project manager at Shaybah NGL and is also conducting the front-end engineering and design (feed).