International engineering firms have been invited to bid on the major onshore construction packages for Saudi Aramco’s $6bn-plus Wasit gas development programme.

Under the Wasit scheme, Aramco wants to produce 2.5 billion cubic feet a day (cf/d) of sulphur-rich gas from the offshore Arabiyah and Hasbah fields before transporting it to central processing facilities at Wasit.

The four onshore engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts are for the main processing facilities at Wasit, on Saudi Arabia’s Gulf coast, which will be capable of handling 1.7 billion cf/d of gas and 4,800 tonnes a day (t/d) of sulphur.

Aramco sent out the invitations to bid on the deals on 29 June. They cover the main inlet and gas processing facilities; a power co-generation unit; sulphur recovery facilities made up of four 1,200 t/d units along with the main supporting utilities for the scheme and a natural gas liquids (NGL) fractionating column.

The state energy giant invited 12 contractors to bid on the first three contracts:

  • Samsung Engineering (South Korea)
  • SK Engineering & Construction (South Korea)
  • Saipem (Italy)
  • JGC Corporation (Japan)
  • GS Engineering & Construction (South Korea)
  • Technip (France)
  • SNC Lavalin (Canada) with Daelim  (South Korea)
  • Tecnicas Reunidas (Spain)
  • Chiyoda Corporation (Japan)
  • China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) (China)
  • KBR (US)

Only nine contractors were prequalified to bid on the NGL fractionation column:

  • Samsung
  • Snamprogetti (Italy), which is part of Saipem
  • Hyundai Engineering & Construction
  • JGC Corporation
  • Technip
  • SNC Lavalin
  • GS Engineering & Construction
  • SK Engineering & Construction
  • Daelim

A 30 September deadline has been set for technical and commercial bids on all four contracts and Aramco wants to award the deals on 3 November. A formal contract signing ceremony is scheduled for 20 December, with the winning bidders to start work before the end of the year.

Contractors expect Aramco to issue formal invitations to bid on two more EPC deals, covering the offshore portion of the project, before the end of July.

The first offshore contract covers the construction of seven offshore wellhead production platforms at the Hasbah field, which can produce up to 1.3 billion cf/d of gas from the field, tied in to central distribution facilities.

It includes the seven 12 inch flowlines linking the platforms with the central facility, a 145 kilometre, 36 inch pipeline linking the platform with Wasit, a 99 kilometre power cable linking the platform with other offshore facilities and a 62 kilometre mono ethylene glycol (MEG) pipeline linking the facilities with those at Arabiyah.

The second contract is for six wellhead platforms at the Arabiyah field, again tied in to central distribution facilities, capable of producing 1.2 billion cf/d of gas. It also includes six 12 inch flowlines, a 150 kilometre pipeline linking the facilities with Wasit, a 150 kilometre MEG pipeline between Arabiyah and Wasit and a 91 kilometre submarine power cable.

Aramco has told contractors prequalified to bid on the offshore schemes that they can submit individual bids for each contract, along with a combined price for both EPC deals. Contractors prequalified to bid on the offshore contracts include the US’ J Ray McDermott, Saipem and the UAE’s National Petroleum Construction Company (NPCC).

Meanwhile, local firms submitted bids for a $500m contract covering preparation of the Wasit site on 26 June. This deal is for a survey on the 4 square kilometre site followed by land clearance and levelling works and the construction of 25 kilometres of asphalt roads along with 12km of fences. It also covers the construction of an evaporation pond and a series of wells.

Firms prequalified to bid on the deal include:

  • The local affiliate of China Harbour Engineering Company
  • Nasir Hassa & Brothers
  • Al-Shalawat
  • Al-Yamama Group
  • Al-Oasis Contracting Company
  • Nesma & Partners Construction
  • Abdullah AM Khodari Sons Company
  • Al-Ajinah Group
  • Mohammad al-Mojil Group

An award of this contract is expected by the end of July, with completion of the project scheduled for the end of August 2011.