The bidders are Chemoprojekt of the Czech Republic, Germany’s Uhde and Chiyoda Corporation of Japan. Commercial bids are due to be submitted soon.

The engineering, procurement and construction contract covers the construction of a urea plant with a capacity of 3,250 tonnes a day, using technology licensed from Stamicarbon of The Netherlands. The plant will use ammonia, which is produced at the complex, as feedstock (MEED 24:2:08).

Safco originally postponed plans for the project in 2007 because of rising costs, according to Ahmed al-Qahtani, general manager of operations and planning at the fertiliser strategic business unit of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic), Safco’s main shareholder (MEED 7:12:08).

However, the rising price of urea fertiliser on the international market made going ahead with the urea train more attractive.

Safco is the kingdom’s only world-scale fertiliser complex. Sabic and Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) are building a multi-billion-dollar phosphate-based fertiliser complex at Ras al-Zour.