The Saudi Aramco Lubricating Oil Refining Company (Luberef) has received bids for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract at its $1bn expansion.

The Yanbu-based refinery had given a two-month extension from the original deadline to submit bids after contractors requested more time to formulate submissions due to the technical aspect of the work.

“Bids have gone in now for this project,” says a contracting source based in Saudi Arabia. “The contractors still bidding for this job are now down to four with a lot of companies deciding not to participate.”

More than 12 contractors had originally been prequalified for the scheme, but now just two South Korean and two European contractors remain. They are:

The project is being tendered as one lump-sum turnkey (LSTK) contract, which will be a combination of grassroots construction and brownfield rehabilitation. The exact scope was previously unknown, but documents seen by MEED indicate it will involve the construction of a 23,000-barrel-a-day (b/d) lube hydrocracker and catalytic ISO-dewaxing complex, which will include hydrogen manufacturing, sour gas absorption, sulphur recovery and prilling units.

Luberef also plans to increase its vacuum distillation unit (VDU) capacity to 40,000 b/d, from 26,000 b/d, and increase its propane deasphalting from 6,500 b/d to 12,500 b/d, as well as increase the asphalt capacity to 12,000 b/d.

Other upgrades will include modifying existing pipework and building a new water-cooling system, complete with cooling towers.

Luberef is a 70:30 joint venture of Saudi Aramco and the local Jadwa Investment.