The Yanbu upgrade will involve the installation of a new isomerisation unit at the refinery as well as the expansion of an existing continuous catalytic reformer. The bidders are Snamprogettiand Tecnimont, both of Italy, France’s Technip-Coflexip, Japan’s JGC Corporationand South Korea’s Daelim Corporation. The front-end engineering and design (FEED) has been carried out by the US’ Foster Wheeler.

While Aramco has concentrated on refinery projects since the award of contracts on the Qatif project earlier this year, the company is expected to soon launch four projects to overhaul the MGS. The company is preparing to tender project management and consultancy contracts for the four projects, which include a major new straddle plant for natural gas liquids (NGL) from Haradh and Hawiyah gas plants; the expansion of Hawiyah gas plant; the construction of a new fractionation plant between Haradh and Hawiyah; and the expansion of Juaymah fractionation plant. However, industry sources say the launch of a tender is contingent upon a clearer understanding of progress in the gas initiative.