The successful bidder on the $1bn engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the refinery package of the Al-Zour Aluminium Project is expected to be announced between the end of March and mid-April, 2010.

Although the EPC award decision was expected to come later than first expected, it would cause any delay to the scheduled completion date of the first quarter of 2014, according to a source close to the project.  

“There has been no official communication, but I believe [the announcement] will be between the end of March and mid-April,” the source says. “The winning contractor will most likely start working on the project within a month of the announcement.”

The four contractors who have submitted bids to build the 1.6 million tonnes a year (t/y) refinery are:

  • The US’ Fluor Corporation in a consortium with Australia’s Worley Parsons
  • France’s Technip
  • The US’ Bechtel Corporation
  • A Canadian consortium comprising SNC Lavalin and Hatch.

Fluor and Bechtel are believed to be the frontrunners for the contract. Al-Zour is a joint venture between the Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden), who has a 60 per cent share and Alcoa who has 40 per cent. The overall project is expected to cost a total of $10.8bn.

When completed the Al-Zour project will consist of:

  • A 4 million t/y bauxite mine
  • A 740,000 t/y aluminium smelter
  • A rolling mill and hot mill with a capacity of between 250,000 t/y and 400,000 t/y
  • A alumina refinery