Saudi Aramco is expected to tender the front-end engineering and design (feed) contract to expand its offshore Zuluf field by end of the year, according to sources.

The Saudi oil giant is looking to add up to 1 million barrels a-day (b/d) of output with expansion of its offshore fields Marjan, Berri and Zuluf.

While the Marjan field is at study phase, Aramco is expected to build new facilities with a capacity to process 600,000 b/d of Arabian Heavy crude.

“Normally these things would take three to four years to execute. There will be drilling wells and platforms and an offshore partial gas oil separation as well as desalting, dehydrating facilities for the oil, followed by gas separation, “ says a source close to the project.

“There are facilities at Tanajib that will be processing gas from Marjan. The residual crude heavy that comes from all of this processing will be blended with the Safaniya oil and shipped to refinery at Ras Tanoura,” added the source.

The Zuluf expansion is reported to comprise a central processing plant with two trains with a total capacity of 600,000 b/d to process crude supplied by electrical submersible pumps.

Last month, Aramco awarded UK-based Amec Foster Wheeler the FEED contract for the expansion of oil and gas production at the offshore Marjan field. The project will include a 300,000-b/d gas/oil separation train, a greenfield gas processing plant, a co-generation facility and modifications to an existing facility to add natural gas liquids fractionation capacity.

Marjan is estimated to have the capacity to produce about 500,000 b/d of crude based on current installed production facilities.

Industry sources told MEED earlier in the year that the project cost is estimated at up to $5bn.

The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) tenders for the scheme are expected to be floated in the first half of 2018 and could be worth a total of up to $5bn, according to Saudi-based industry sources. MEED revealed Aramco’s plans to expand the Marjan field in February this year.

In late April, Canada’s SNC-Lavalin was awarded a deal including a feed study for the Berri Increment Programme, which is expected to complete pre-EPC by August 2018. The work includes designing a 250,000-b/d gas oil separation plant at the existing Abu Ali gas plant and additional facilities at the Khursaniyah gas plant to process 40,000 b/d of condensate.

The capacity earmarked for Zuluf is so far the highest among the offshore fields under study. With Marjan and Berri set to add 550,000 b/d of crude production and Zuluf set to have 600,000-b/d production facilities, the kingdom could add 1.15 million b/d capacity. The planned capacity increase over the coming years is the equivalent of 9.2 per cent of Saudi Arabia’s official oil production capacity of 12.5 million b/d.