State-run energy giant Saudi Aramco and the US’ Dow Chemical Company are meeting prequalified contractors for the first construction package on their $20bn-plus integrated oil and petro-chemicals scheme at Ras Tanura.

The $100m marine package covers dredging, harbour works and site filling at the scheme in the kingdom’s Eastern Province.

One executive close to the project tells MEED that Dow hosted a meeting for contractors at its Houston headquarters in the first week of October.

Companies at the meeting included Belgium’s Dredging International and Jan de Nul, Van Oord and Royal Boskalis Westminster of the Netherlands, the local Huta Group, and the Saudi/Chinese China Harbour Engineering Arabia Company.

Key facts

  • $20bn – Estimated cost of the whole Ras Tanura refinery project
  • $100m – Value of marine package at the centre of current talks

A source at one of the contractors says Aramco and Dow will issue an invitation to bid in the first week of January 2010, with the deadline expected to be some time before the end of the first quarter. A contract award will follow in the second quarter of 2010 and work will start on the project in the fourth quarter.

The source adds that the US’ Foster Wheeler has formally replaced the US’ KBR as the project manager for the marine work, tank farm, utilities and offsite packages of the refinery.

Aramco and Dow awarded the $140-150m project management consultancy deal to KBR in July 2007, but handed over some of KBR’s responsibilities to Foster Wheeler and the US’ Jacobs Engineering in November 2008.

The scope of works for the marine package covers the dredging of a 12-kilometre-long approach channel and construction of a breakwater, shoreline protection and a container wharf.