State oil major Saudi Aramco has selected UAE-based Drake & Scull International to build the commercial buildings for the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies Research Centre (Kapsarc) in Riyadh.

Aramco received bids from at least four contractors in October 2010 for the main construction package. Drake & Scull saw off competition from the Turkish company Baytur Construction & Contracting Company, and the local contractors El-Seif Engineering & Contracting and Saudi Oger.

Saudi Arabia Contract Awards* 
$29.6bn Total contract awards 100%
$9.3bn Construction contract awards 31.40%
*=Q1 2010 to Q1 2011. Source: MEED Projects

The work will involve the construction of the main buildings that includes basic retail facilities and a research centre, library and conference hall designed by London-based Zaha Hadid Architects.

Kapsarc’s main building will be a crystalline structure composed of modular six-sided cells and connections between them. The development will also contain indoor and outdoor gardens, shaded outdoor areas and underground tunnels. The conference building will include a large multipurpose hall and various smaller halls and meeting rooms.

In May 2010 Aramco awarded South Korea’s SK Engineering & Construction the estimated SR1.9bn ($506m) contract to build the residential buildings at Kapsarc.

The project will involve the construction of 188 villas, two apartment blocks, a clubhouse and associated infrastructure.

Kapsarc is located eight kilometres south of King Khalid International airport and was originally supposed to be tendered as a single contract. Aramco subsequently decided to split the contract into separate packages for the residential buildings and commercial buildings. The total complex will cover an area of 466,000 square metres.

Aramco launched the Kapsarc project in March 2009 as part of a $60bn investment programme, which includes the development of offshore and onshore oil production facilities (MEED 21:5:10).