Aramco starts prequalification for Ras Tanura refinery upgrade

14 February 2013

Oil major invites firms to express interest for two major packages at Eastern Province refinery

Saudi Aramco has invited international contractors to submit prequalification documents for two engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) packages at its $2.6bn Ras Tanura refinery clean fuels and aromatics project.

The packages are the first two of four and cover the two main technical contracts at the scheme, which is an upgrade of Aramco’s largest domestic refinery and is located in the Eastern Province.

The two packages are:

  • Naphtha & aromatics processing facilities
  • Paraxylene production facilities

“Releasing the two main Ras Tanura packages so close to the Jizan gasification plant project has taken some contractors by surprise and will keep everyone very busy in the first half of the year,” says an oil and gas executive working in Saudi Arabia. “Many people were worried about a lack of work this year, so two projects that could be worth more than $7bn in total starting prequalification is good news.”

Contractors wanting to be involved with the first two Ras Tanura packages have until 20 February to express an interest and until 2 March to submit documents. The packages are being released on an out-of-kingdom (OOK) and in-kingdom (IK) basis and contractors have been instructed to submit documents for OOK and IK.

After prequalification is concluded, the full tenders for EPC contracts will be released in April with a bid deadline in September. Contracts are then expected to be exchanged in November. The construction phase is set to last up to 42 months with full mechanical completion scheduled for May 2017.

Two more packages are expected to be released for prequalification shortly. One of these will cover the offsites and utilities, while the other will be for the site preparation.

The US’ Jacobs Engineering is carrying out the front-end engineering and design (feed) and the original scope amounted to about 400,000 man-hours in total. This figure has since risen considerably. The initial budget of about $2bn is expected to climb to about $2.6bn.

The scope of works will include carrying out feed services for the inside and outside battery limits, as well as modifications to the refinery to bring it in line with environmental regulations. An aromatics cracker will also be added, which will allow for a far greater diversity of products being manufactured at the plant.

The Ras Tanura refinery is fully owned by Saudi Aramco and is the largest oil facility in Saudi Arabia, with a capacity of 550,000 barrels a day (b/d). The state-owned oil company is currently upgrading its domestic refining capacity to both lower the sulphur content of its downstream output, and diversify the amount of refined products it produces.

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