Saudi Aramco has released a tender for the front-end engineering and design (feed) for the $7bn Jizan Refinery in the south of the kingdom.

The state-owned oil giant has decided to take a more conventional approach to the design stage of the project, say sources close to the scheme.

“The tender has been floated according to the conventional approach, which is carrying out the work both in- and out-of-kingdom,” says one Saudi-based source. “However, there is a clear requirement to maximise as much as possible the in-kingdom execution.”

The in-kingdom requirement is a result of the general engineering services plus (GES plus) contract that is about to be signed by Aramco and several major engineering contractors.

The GES plus guarantees a relatively small collection of contractors a guaranteed amount of man hours from Saudi Aramco on condition that most of the work is carried out in-kingdom (MEED 29:11:10).

“The final decision is not to go along the GES plus route and use a more conventional approach,” the source says. “Because of an internal political debate, Aramco put a requirement in the tender to ensure a lot of the work was carried out in-kingdom.

The move by Aramco means that the door is now open for two engineering contractors outside the GES-plus programme to bid for either all or a portion of the expected 1 million man hours needed for the Jizan Feed.  

The companies invited are:

  • Foster Wheeler (US)
  • Jacobs (US)
  • Worley Parsons (Australia)
  • Fluor (US)
  • Technip (France)
  • CB&I Lummus (US)
  • KBR (US)
  • Mustang (US)

Canada’s SNC Lavalin is part of the GES plus programme, but has not been invited to bid on Jizan. Fluor and CB&I Lummus are the two contractors not part of GES plus that have been invited.  

The scope of works for the successful contractor will include the design of a 400,000 barrel-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.