Five international contractors are being invited to submit technical bids by 18 December for the technology licensing and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract.

They are Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Snamprogetti and Tecnimont, both of Italy, Paris-based Technip and Germany’s Uhde. Commercial bids will be submitted once technical evaluation is complete. A contract award is likely to be made by the end of the first quarter of 2009.

The $1.2-1.5bn deal involves building a 2,000-tonne-a-day (t/d) ammonia plant and a 3,500-t/d urea train alongside Fertil’s existing complex. Gas will be supplied by Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Company (Gasco) from the onshore Asab, Bab and Thamama C fields.

The project is understood to have doubled in cost from the original $700m budget in 2006, highlighting the rise in EPC costs.

The successful contractor will provide proprietary technology for the plants. MHI will license ammonia technology from the US’ KBR and urea technology from Stamicarbon of The Netherlands. Uhde will also use Stamicarbon for the urea and its own technology for the ammonia.

The remaining three companies will use Snamprogetti’s urea technology and ammonia technology from Denmark’s Haldor Topsoe.

Selection is expected soon on the project management consultancy contract (MEED 20:7:08).