About 10 companies plan to bid for a $450m solids handling package on Saudi Aramco’s joint venture Yanbu export refinery with the US’ ConocoPhillips.

Aramco has set 28 February 2010 as the deadline for contractors to submit engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) bids for the package.

The winning contractor will build a sulphur pelletiser plant and coke storage unit at the refinery, and a storage facility at King Fahd Industrial Port, which is also in the industrial complex of Yanbu.

Aramco met prequalified contractors in Yanbu, on the kingdom’s Red Sea coast, on 8 November to discuss the specifications of the package.

The potential bidders are GS Engineering & Construction, Hyundai Engineering & Construction and Daelim Industrial Company, all of South Korea, Denmark’s FL Smidth, Japan’s JGC Corporation, the UK’s Petrofac, Italy’s Techint and Saipem, South Africa’s Senet, and Germany’s ThyssenKrupp.

Bids for the five largest EPC packages are due on 31 January 2010.

The five main packages cover a $1.2bn coker unit, a $970m crude facility, a $2.3bn gasoline unit, a $1.2bn hydrocracker, and a $900m tank farm.

US contractor KBR is managing the selection process because it holds the combined front-end engineering and design (Feed) and programme management services contract on the Yanbu refinery.

Aramco and ConocoPhillips have yet to decide how much of the joint venture each company will have.