Engineering firms planning to bid on the contract to design and project manage Saudi Aramco’s $7bn Jizan refinery expect the state energy giant to tender the deal by mid-August.

MEED reported in June that contractors had submitted prequalification documents for the combined front end engineering and design and project management services for the refinery, to be built in the south west of the country (MEED 18:6:2010).

The estimated $7bn Jizan refinery was originally planned as a public-private partnership

“[Aramco] wants to tender the contract by September and to have things finalised by the end of the year,” says a source at one prospective bidder. Separately, a business development executive at another firm says that bid documents will be issued before Ramadan, which starts on 10-11 August.

The winning bidder will design a basic 400,000-tonne-a-year hydroskimming refinery and associated marine terminals. The chosen bidder will also help to tender and oversee construction contracts on the scheme in 2011.

The estimated $7bn Jizan refinery was originally planned as a public-private partnership between the kingdom’s Petroleum & Mineral Resources Ministry and a foreign investor. However, Aramco took over management of the development in February after only two consortiums submitted proposals for the project in a 7 November 2009 bid round (MEED 9:2:10).

The state energy firm has decided to break the construction of the refinery down into two phases. The first part of the development will be a simple hydroskimming refinery, which can be built quickly and will provide basic fuel products.

More complex units, such as a hydrocracker that produces more saleable gasoline products, will be added during a second phase of the project. Design contracts for this part of the development are likely to be launched in 2011.