Aramco moves on export refineries

24 February 2006

Prequalifications were submitted on 12 February to Saudi Aramco for two tenders to carry out combined front-end engineering and design (FEED) and project management consultancy (PMC) services for the proposed new in-kingdom export refineries. The submission coincided with a strong indication that Aramco was close to selecting foreign partners to build the two facilities (MEED 27:1:06). Estimated to cost $5,000 million each, the grassroots facilities will have nameplate capacity of 400,000 barrels a day (b/d) each and will be located at Yanbu on the Red Sea and Jubail 2 industrial area in the Eastern Province.

Prospective prequalifiers include Fluor Corporation, Foster Wheeler, Mustang Engineering, Bechtel and Washington Group International, all US-based, Paris-based Technip and Parsons E&C, part of WorleyParsons of Australia.

Both projects will involve the installation of naphtha hydrotreaters and splitters, twin catalytic reformers, isomerisation units, distillate hydrotreaters, vacuum distillation units, hydrocrackers and fluid catalytic crackers (FCCs). The facilities will take about four years to build and will be designed to produce clean fuels - gasoline, diesel, petroleum coke, bitumen and vacuum gas oil (VGO). Parsons E&C has already carried out a study recommending the utilisation of three process streams to be driven by a varying mix of feedstock for the refineries. Aramco will carry out the projects in partnership with international oil companies, which will take an equity stake in the new project companies to be set up to build and operate the facilities. A selection is close, with the US' ConocoPhillips and Total of France understood to be the frontrunners respectively for the Yanbu and Jubail 2 refineries.

The majority of the feedstock for the two new refineries will be sourced from the Manifa redevelopment project, which is targeted to produce 800,000-900,000 b/d of Arabian Heavy crude.

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