Saudi Aramco is considering two different strategies for the front end engineering and design (Feed) that will shortly be tendered for the $7bn Jizan Refinery in the kingdom.

The two different strategies involve how much of the design work will be carried out on the refinery in-kingdom and how much will be carried out overseas, an in-kingdom contracting source tells MEED.

“Aramco has yet to decide how much of the work will be done in-kingdom,” the source says. “If it is 100 per cent then it will likely take more man hours to complete than if it is a mix.”

“I’d estimate that Jizan will take around a million man hours if it is a mix and maybe 1.2 million if it is carried out in-kingdom,” he adds.

The Jizan Refinery will be the first major Feed award that will come under the general engineering services plus (GES plus) contract. The GES plus has been formulated to ensure local designers will play a more prominent role in the design of Aramco’s major processing plants (MEED 26:11:10).

The Feed tender is now expected to be released by Aramco in the first half of 2011 with engineering, procurement and construction contracts expected in 2012.

“There has been a lot of talk about whether Jizan is going ahead, but it definitely is,” the source says. “Aramco wants to make sure it does everything right so if that means delays then so be it.”

The scope of works for the successful contractor will include the design of a 400,000 barrels-a-day hydroskimming refinery with an associated marine terminal. As part of the project managing package the contractor will also be involved in tendering out and supervising the construction contracts.

The Jizan Refinery project was initially planned to become the first independent oil refinery in the kingdom. However, due to only two bids being submitted, Aramco took over management of the development in February.