• Saudi Aramco could build just two stadiums instead of 11
  • Other stadiums could be downgraded to sports villages
  • Estimated $5bn construction programme slowed down earlier this year

Saudi Aramco could progress with just two of the 11 new stadiums it was planning to build across the kingdom.

According to sources close to the project, the stadiums planned for Dammam and Medina are the most likely to go ahead. The others are expected to be reviewed and downsized or scrapped. The expectation follows a report on 18 April in the Saudi Gazette that said the government was considering converting the proposed sports stadiums into sports villages.

The stadiums programme was being developed on a fast-track basis last year. Firms first submitted offers for the construction contracts in November, and revised prices were submitted in mid-December 2014.

MEED reported in early March 2015 that the programme had slowed.

The construction contracts for the estimated $5bn programme were expected to be awarded by the end of 2014. Since then, falling oil prices and a change in the leadership in Saudi Arabia led to expectations that the programme that was launched by the late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud could be delayed, downsized or cancelled.

In mid-January, contractors had been negotiating with Aramco, and several frontrunners had emerged for some of the stadiums. Nine groups were invited to bid for the contracts, with a select list for each stadium:

The stadiums were planned for Medina, Al-Qassim, the Eastern Province, Asir, Tabuk, Hail, the Northern Borders, Jizan, Najran, Baha and Al-Jouf.

Contractors that were invited to bid:

Medina

Al-Qassim

Dammam

  • Nasser al-Hajri (local) / Vinci(France)
  • Bouygues (France) / Almabani (local) / Al-Rushaid Construction Company (local)
  • Al-Muhaidib Trading & Contracting (local) / Six Construct (Belgium)

Asir

  • Vinci/ Nasser al-Hajri
  • Baytur (Turkey) / Clark Construction (US)
  • Besix (Belgium)/ Al-Muhaidib Trading & Contracting

Tabuk

Hail

Arar

  • SBG / Eiffage
  • CCC / Strabag
  • Bouygues / Al-Rushaid Construction Company / Almabani (local)
  • Baytur / Clark Construction

Jizan

  • Vinci/ Nasser al-Hajri
  • Bouygues / Al-Rushaid Construction Company / Almabani
  • Nesma & Partners / Salini Impregilo
  • Besix / Al-Muhaidib Trading & Contracting

Najran

Baha

Al-Jouf

Aramco also appointed a team of firms to project manage the development and construction of the 11 stadiums.

The project management firms that have been appointed are:

The project managers will work with US-based CH2M and UK-based EC Harris, which have been appointed as programme managers.

Aramco is the world’s largest oil exporter and, in light of the decline in oil prices, has recently been reassessing where and how it will spend its money.

Earlier in 2015, the company decided to postpone the rehabilitation of its 550,000 barrel-a-day (b/d) Ras Tanurarefinery.

However, other projects are continuing. The oil company is currently tendering the $5bn Fadhili gas plant, maintaining its commitment to increase the gas output of the kingdom.

Aramco also recently confirmed it is in the process of renewing a stand-by revolving credit facility. The new arrangement will replace the current $4bn facility raised in November 2010 with a syndicate of local, regional and international banks, the oil major said in a statement seen by MEED.

It said the facility would help the company “maintain financial flexibility”, but did not elaborate of the purpose of the loan.

The statement followed reports that Aramco was in talks with the banks and that the new facility could be increased up to $10bn. The deal is reportedly due to close in the first quarter of the year.

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