Saudi Aramco is making changes to the scope for the front-end engineering (feed) contract that will cover the PetroRabigh clean fuels project at the Rabigh refinery on the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia.

Seven international engineering consultancies submitted bids for the feed at the Rabigh project in June, but Aramco is now expected to ask for revised submissions.

“[Aramco] wants to make a couple of amendments to its original plans,” says a source familiar with the contract. “It is not clear as yet how extensive these changes are going to be.”

The engineering consultancies who bid for the original contract are:

  • Foster Wheeler (US)
  • Jacobs Engineering (US)
  • JGC Corporation (Japan)
  • KBR (US)
  • Sinopec (China)
  • Tecnicas Reunidas (Spain)
  • WorleyParsons (Australia)

The project is part of the kingdom’s policy of significantly lowering the sulphur content of its refined products. When completed, the refinery will meet global product specification requirements by reducing the sulphur content of gasoline to 10 parts-per-million (ppm).

The scope of work for the feed includes designing the new facilities, as well as an extensive equipment list. This process will include liaising with technology providers to establish the most cost-effective technology. From this, the capital expenditure of the project will be established along with the operational expenditure for when construction is completed.

The exact budget of the scheme has not yet been determined, but it is expected to run to at least $1bn. The amount of man-hours required for the feed is expected to be several hundred thousand.

Saudi Aramco has a number of clean fuels schemes at the majority of its domestic refinery facilities. The Ras Tanura and Riyadh refineries are both at the feed phase of their clean fuels programmes.

The Rabigh refinery has been in operation since 1989 and has a capacity of 400,000 barrels a day. it is connected to the refining and petrochemicals complex PetroRabigh, a joint venture between Aramco and Japan’s Sumitomo Chemical.