Tenders are due to be issued first for packages 3 and 4, which are estimated to be worth a total of about $4,000 million. They will cover the construction of seawater injection facilities at the Khurais and Ghawar fields, and the expansion of the Qurayyah seawater treatment plant, part of the southern area seawater system, on the coast.

Package 3 will cover the treatment plant’s expansion and will include the supply and installation of pipelines, new pumps and treatment modules, sedimentation basins and compressors, along with electrical upgrades. Package 4 will entail the construction of new water injection plants and associated facilities at Ghawar and Khurais and associated pipeline works.

Both contracts are due to be awarded in the first quarter of 2006 and will take 29 months to complete.

Tenders are due to be issued by year-end for packages 1 and 2, which are estimated to be worth a total of about $5,000 million and cover the Khurais central processing facilities.

Package 1 will centre on the construction of four gas-oil separation plants (GOSPs), each with capacity of 330,000-b/d, central processing facilities, and three crude storage tanks of 600,000 barrels each.

Package 2 will include the construction of two gas trains, capable of processing 330 million cubic feet a day (cf/d) of sour gas, four crude pumps, utilities and natural gas liquids (NGL) spheres. Both packages are expected to be awarded in next spring and have a contract period of 34 months.

Solicitations of interest for the four packages were submitted by about 15 international companies in late August.

Other packages to be tendered include: site preparation; a residential and industrial camp at Khurais; downstream pipelines to transport the Khurais products; expansion of the existing east/west (E/W) NGL pipeline; and a utility upgrade at the Juaymah gas plant.

Aramco has been considering two alternative contracting strategies for the larger packages: the traditional lump-sum turnkey (LSTK) approach; and a converted LSTK model with a bid target price and fee.

US-based Foster Wheeler, with its in-kingdom partner Sofcon, is the project management consultant (PMC) on all major elements of the programme except the seawater supply and injection facilities, which is being handled by a group of US-based Jacobs Engineering, Canada’s SNC Lavalin and Saudi Consulting Services (SaudConsult).

In addition to producing 1.2 million b/d of Arabian Light, the Khurais development will deliver 400 million cf/d of gas and 70,000 b/d of NGL. Khurais is the largest project under Aramco’s expansion programme, which is aimed at raising oil capacity to 12.5 million b/d by 2010.