Frontrunners for a number of engineering, procurement and construction contracts at the delayed $5bn PetroRabigh phase 2 project in Saudi Arabia have begun to emerge.

Joint owners of the PetroRabigh complex, Saudi Aramco and Japan’s Sumitomo Chemical, have been evaluating the bids since the fourth quarter of 2011. It is understood that a bid extension has been granted to cover the validity of each submission.

 “A decision on the winning bidders at [PetroRabigh] phase 2 is now expected in May after Aramco has a meeting to discuss it,” says an oil industry source based in Saudi Arabia. “As it stands, Aramco is still committed to the project and it should still go ahead. Whether Sumitomo is attached or not is another issue.”

Contracting sources have told MEED that three contractors are the frontrunners for five separate packages at PetroRabigh phase 2. South Korea’s Daelim Industrial are the favourites for CP1 and CP2, South Korea’s GS Engineering and Construction are in the lead for CP3 and CP4, while the UK’s Petrofac is the frontrunners for UO2&3.

The full scope of each package is:

  • CP1: Caprolactam and Nylon-6 plants with associated facilities
  • CP2: Cumene, Phenol and Cyclohexanone plants
  • CP3: Ethylene-vinylacetate/low-density polyethylene (EVA/LDPE), Ethylene propylene rubber (EPR), Thermoplastic olefin (TPO) and Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) plants
  • CP4: Methyl tertiary butyl-ether/iso-butylene (MTBE/IB), methyl methacrylate (MMA) and Metathesis plants
  • UO2: Tank farm
  • UO3: Common facilities

As well as these five packages there are still several more available including:

  • RP1: Ethylene cracker: De-bottlenecking
  • RP2: Aromatics complex
  • CP5: Acrylic acid and Super-absorbent polymers (SAP)
  • UO1: Offsites and utilities

Aramco and Sumitomo plan to process an additional 30 million cubic feet a year (cf/y) of ethane and 3 million tonnes a year (t/y) of naphtha after the expansion.

MEED reported in May 2011 that the scheme was facing major delays with issues such as a delay in financing and changes to the scope of works.

However, officials from Saudi Aramco and PetroRabigh reiterated their support for a phase 2 expansion at the 2nd Saudi Downstream conference held in Jubail in early March.

The first phase of PetroRabigh commenced production in November 2009 and produces more than 20 million t/y of petroleum and petrochemicals products.

Saudi Aramco and Sumitomo each own 37.5 per cent of PetroRabigh, with the remaining 25 per cent traded on the Tadawul (Saudi Arabian Stock Exchange).