State-owned oil major Saudi Aramco has started the prequalification process for its planned 1 billion cubic feet a day (cf/d) gas plant at the Fadhili oil field in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.

The oil major has approached international engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors and invited them to express interest in prequalifying for the project. All interested parties have until 18 August to submit the requisite documents.  

Aramco will be releasing three packages for the scheme. The contract model will be lump-sum turnkey and will be both in-kingdom and out-of-kingdom (IK/OOK) meaning that a percentage of the engineering work and project management can be carried out overseas. The proposed packages are:

  • Sulphur recovery unit (SRU)
  • Process utilities
  • Gas inlet and treatment

MEED reported in September 2013 that the US’ Foster Wheeler had been awarded the front-end engineering and design (feed) contract for the plant. The amount of man hours is higher than the initial estimates, with almost 500,000 required to carry out the feed work. About 150,000 of these will have to be carried out in-kingdom, with the rest likely to be carried out in Foster Wheeler’s main UK office on the outskirts of London. The budget for the scheme is still unclear, but it is certain to be more than $2bn.

“From the amount of time spent on the feed, I would estimate that the budget will be in the region of $3bn,” says an oil and gas source based in the kingdom.  

Aramco has a clear timeline for the scheme and is expected to make an award by the end of the first quarter of 2015. The proposed schedule is:

  • Tender release: October 2014
  • Commercial and technical submission date: January 2015
  • Contract award: March 2015

The Fadhili plant will process sour gas from the Khursaniyah oil field and the Hasbah non-associated gas field. Aramco has ramped up its offshore non-associated gas operations in the Gulf in recent years and is developing several fields in the region. These include the Karan, Hasbah and Arabiyah fields.

Much of the gas contained in the oil major’s Eastern Province hydrocarbon assets is sour meaning it has a high sulphur content. This makes it more difficult to process than sweeter gas, which has minimal amounts of sulphur.

Aramco is ramping up operations to supply the kingdom with gas for both power generation and industrial use. It plans to produce 15 billion cf/d of gas for domestic use by 2017-18.