The work will involve upgrading old units and installing new ones at the plant. The estimated $50 million contract is scheduled to be awarded in February 2002 and completion of the project is expected by June 2004. Contractors say the timetable is ambitious because of the complicated nature of the work, which will improve the quality of the refined product.

The Riyadh refinery has a capacity of 140,000 barrels a day (b/d). Commissioned in 1975, with an initial capacity of 15,000 b/d, it is one of seven refineries in the kingdom. Total local refining capacity stands at more than 3.1 million b/d.