Saudi Aramco is assessing applications from engineering firms to bid on a design and construction management deal for the first phase of its new $7bn Jizan refinery.

Contractors submitted prequalification documents for the front end engineering and design (Feed) and project management services deal on 12 June.

Saudi Arabia planned refineries
Project Value ($bn) Status Capacity addition (barrels a day)
Ras Tanura refinery expansion 8 Cancelled 400,000
Jubail export refinery 10 Under construction 400,000
Yanbu export refinery 10 Decision due on project by end July  400,000
Jizan refinery 7 Firms prequalifying for design contracts on Phase I 400,000
Source: MEED

Although no official list has been drawn up, sources close to the project say that firms likely to be prequalified for the deal include Australia’s WorleyParsons, Foster Wheeler, KBR, Jacobs and Fluor, all of the US, and Paris-based Technip. Aramco has not set a formal timeline for the bidding process, but wants to issue tender documents before the end of the year.

The winning bidder will design a basic 400,000 tonne a year (t/y) hydroskimming refinery and associated marine terminals and will help tender and oversee construction contracts on the scheme in 2011.

The estimated $7bn Jizan refinery was originally planned to be built as a public-private partnership between the kingdom’s Petroleum & Mineral Resources Ministry and a foreign investor. However, Aramco took over management of the development in February after only two consortiums submitted proposals for the project in a 7 November bid round (MEED 9:2:10).

The state energy firm has decided to break the construction of the refinery down into two phases. The first part of the development will be a simple hydroskimming refinery, which can be built quickly and will provide basic fuel products.

More complex units such as a hydrocracker that produces more saleable gasoline products will be added during a second phase of the project, design contracts for which are likely to be launched in 2011.

The refinery will effectively replace supplies, which were due to come from an expansion of the existing Ras Tanura refinery. This development was shelved earlier in 2010 after Saudi Aramco decided to move an associated joint venture petrochemicals project with the US’ Dow Chemical to Jubail Industrial City (MEED 19:4:10).

Dow and Aramco are currently working on new designs for the petrochemicals project and Aramco is expected to make a formal decision on the scope of the scheme by mid-July.