Awards for both contracts are due in early July. The successful contractors will carry out a detailed feasibility study and also work out the contracting strategy (MEED 26:5:06).

The grassroots refineries will each have nameplate capacity of 400,000 barrels a day (b/d) and will involve the installation of naphtha hydrotreaters and splitters, catalytic reformers, isomerisation units and related facilities. The facilities are targeted to be completed in 2011.

In late May, Aramco signed two memorandums of understanding with the US’ ConocoPhillips and Total of France to act as respective foreign partners on the Yanbu and Jubail 2 refineries. The refineries, costing $6,000 million each, will be designed to process Arabian Heavy crude, which is targeted to be sourced primarily from the offshore Manifa field in the Eastern Province.

Companies are due to submit bids on 20 June to Aramco for a three-year contract to carry out a 3D/2D survey on Manifa. Aramco plans to invest $9,000 million in redeveloping the field, which will have capacity of 900,000 b/d of Arabian Heavy crude by 2011.