Originally estimated to cost more than $5,000 million, Aramco is due to tender the project in five separate bid packages, allowing contractors four-five months to price the work. The largest of the packages will cover the construction of central processing facilities at Khurais, including a gas-oil separation plant, wet crude handling vessels, gas stabilisation columns, compression and liquid separation facilities and in-field trunklines and related works. An upgrade of support facilities at the Juaymah gas plant is also planned.

The facilities will be built to handle 115 million cubic feet a day (cf/d) of gas and 120,000 barrels a day (b/d) of natural gas liquids (NGL). Package 2 will cover seawater supply and injection facilities at Khurais and the expansion of the Qurrayah water treatment plant, aimed at supplying 2,000 b/d of treated water.

The third package will include the supply and installation of pipelines for seawater intake, while package 4 will cover the supply and installation of a total of 80 kilometres of pipeline at Khurais to transport crude, gas and NGL, and expansion of the existing east/west (E/W) NGL pipeline. The last package will include the construction of cogeneration, infrastructure and product handling and storage facilities.

Aramco is evaluating various tendering options. While some packages will be tendered on a lump-sum turnkey (LSTK) basis, other options may incorporate target price and LSTK conversion structures. It is understood that Aramco is likely to grant a bonus to contractors which achieve construction work within the target price.

US-based Foster Wheeler, with its in-kingdom partner Sofcon, is project management consultant (PMC) on all major elements of the programme except the seawater supply and injection facilities, which is being handled separately by a group of US-based Jacobs Engineering, Canada’s SNC Lavalinand Saudi Consulting Services (SaudConsult).

The Khurais crude increment programme aims to add 1.2 million b/d of Arabian light production capacity by 2009 and is one of several projects to be developed under Aramco’s expansion programme, which is aimed at raising oil capacity to 12.5 million b/d by 2010. Other schemes include the phase 2 expansion of the onshore Shaybah field, which will add about 300,000 b/d of extra light crude, and the development of the Nuayyim oil field, which aims to produce about 100,000 b/d. Official awards are imminent on the front-end engineering and design (FEED) contracts for both new onshore oil field projects.