Saudi Aramco has released the tender for the port dredging and reclamation works at the Jizan Economic City (JEC) in the southwest of Saudi Arabia.

Four bidders have been invited to bid on the scheme, which is being fast-tracked in order to get the port facilities completed before the $7bn Jizan refinery becomes operational.

The four bidders are:

  • Boskalis Westminster/Al-Rushaid Company (Netherlands/local)
  • China Harbour Engineering Arabia (China)
  • Jan De Nul (Belgium)
  • Van Oord Dredging & Marine Contractors/Six Construct (Netherlands/Belgium)

The scope of works will include dredging a channel to the port, building a 12-kilometre breakwater, a jetty as well as large-scale reclamation. The amount of dredging required is estimated at about 30 million cubic metres.

The closing date for submissions is the second week of June and a decision is expected by July. The contract is expected to last for 24 months with completion in July 2015.

“This project is being fast-tracked because it is vital to the success of the Jizan refinery,” says a source familiar with the project. “Without a deep-water port that can handle the flow of large oil tankers, the refinery will not be able to operate.”

The project is being tendered on a lump-sum, procure, build (LSPB) basis and sources say that the US’ KBR has been working on the tender for several months.

“Whoever is successful will have to mobilise its operations quickly because Aramco will be expecting them to hit the ground running,” says the source. “This is likely the reason why the shortlist of bidders is small.”  

The project was initially meant to be carried out by the original developers of the JEC, the local Saudi Binladin Group and Malaysia’s MMC Corporation, but the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (Sagia) dropped them from the project in early April.   

MEED reported in March 2012 that Aramco was to take over the major infrastructure projects at JEC in order to speed up their development.