Saudi Aramco has invited international contractors to submit prequalification documents for the last two packages at its $2.6bn Ras Tanura refinery clean fuels and aromatics project.

The packages consist of the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) package for the offsites and utilities as well as the contract for the site preparation works.

The prequalification documents for all four packages for the scheme have now been sent to contractors. MEED reported in mid-February that contractors had been invited to prequalify for the naphtha and aromatics processing facilities as well as the paraxylene production facilities.

Contractors wanting to be involved in the bidding process for Ras Tanura have until 20 February to express an interest and until 2 March to submit documents. The packages are being released on an out-of-kingdom (OOK) and in-kingdom (IK) basis and contractors have been instructed to submit documents for OOK and IK.

After prequalification is concluded, the full tenders for EPC contracts will be released in April with a bid deadline in September. Contracts are then expected to be exchanged in November. The construction phase is set to last up to 42 months with full mechanical completion scheduled for May 2017.

The US’ Jacobs Engineering is carrying out the front-end engineering and design (feed) and the original scope amounted to about 400,000 man-hours in total. This figure has since risen considerably. The initial budget of about $2bn is expected to climb to about $2.6bn.

The scope of works will include carrying out feed services for the inside and outside battery limits, as well as modifications to the refinery to ensure it meets environmental regulations. An aromatics cracker will also be added, which will allow for a far greater diversity of products being manufactured at the plant.

The Ras Tanura refinery is fully owned by Saudi Aramco and is the largest oil facility in Saudi Arabia, with a capacity of 550,000 barrels a day (b/d). The state-owned oil company is currently upgrading its domestic refining capacity to both lower the sulphur content of its downstream output and diversify the amount of refined products it produces.