Prospective bidders for the contract are understood to include Argentina’s Techint, the Netherlands’ Suedrohrbau, Technip Germany, Turkey’s Tekfen, Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC), Lebanon’s Contracting & Trading (CAT), the local Tamimi Group, Al-Shuwayer Trading, also local,and a company identified as RHM.

Industry sources say they expect a wide divergence in bid prices given the complex nature of the project and the recent lack of precedent for SEC pipeline work. The pipeline is expected to be converted to carry gas at a later stage.

A second major pipeline project is planned in the kingdom, involving the construction of a 350-kilometre pipeline from Rabigh to Yanbu. Designs are being prepared by the local Petrocom.