Engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) bids, which were due in December, have now been delayed until the second quarter of 2009.

“We believe that this short delay will allow the markets to adjust from the current uncertainties and provide a stronger basis for the long-term success of the refinery,” says Jim Mulva, chief executive officer of ConocoPhillips.

The companies say they will maintain joint engineering, start-up planning and other preparatory activities to ensure the project continues despite the EPC delay.

The US’ KBR is the combined front-end engineering and design and programme management services contractor on the refinery (MEED 1:9:06).

Aramco recently delayed the deadline for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) bids on a second 400,000-b/d refinery at Jubail to February 2009, from early November.

It is also considering renegotiating contracts on its Manifa oil field increment and Karan gas field development in response to the recent drop in oil prices (MEED 5:11:08).