Oil major Saudi Aramco has prequalified about 15 contractors for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts for its Ras Tanura refinery clean fuels and aromatics project in Saudi Arabia.

The project in the Eastern Province is currently in its front-end engineering and design (feed) phase with the US’ Jacobs Engineering carrying out the work. MEED reported in September that there was a quick six-eight month turnaround planned for the feed and this is still the schedule (MEED 9:9:11).

“A lot of contractors submitted prequalification documents for this project, but the bidders list is still long,” says a source based in the Eastern Province that is familiar with the scheme. “It is hard to place a value on the work because of the aggressive pricing strategies, but I still think it will be about $2bn in total.”

The feed phase amounted to about 400,000 man hours and $2bn is an accurate reflection of that, especially as there will be a number of highly technical packages available.

The scope of works for the scheme will include carrying out feed services for the inside and outside battery limits, as well as modifications to the refinery to bring it in line with environmental regulations.

Saudi Aramco is expected to release tenders for the EPC packages by the end of the first quarter of 2012 with submissions and subsequent awards due for the second and fourth quarters respectively.  

The prequalified contractors include:

  • Chiyoda Corporation (Japan)
  • Daelim Industrial (South Korea)
  • GS Engineering and Construction (South Korea)
  • Hyundai Engineering & Construction (South Korea)
  • JGC Corporation (Japan)
  • Saipem (Italy)
  • Samsung Engineering (South Korea)
  • Sinopec (China)
  • SK Engineering and Construction (South Korea)
  • Technip (France)
  • Tecnicas Reunidas (Spain)

The Ras Tanura refinery is 100 per cent owned by Saudi Aramco and is the largest oil refinery in Saudi Arabia with a capacity of 550,000 barrels a day. The state-owned oil company is currently upgrading its domestic refining capacity to both lower the sulphur content of its downstream output, as well as diversify the amount of refined products it produces.