Saudi Aramco has further delayed the award of the $500m site preparation contract for its $6bn-plus Wasit gas development in Saudi Arabia.

A source involved in the project has told MEED that Aramco is still studying the bids and is unlikely to pick a preferred bidder until December.

“Aramco was supposed to announce the winning bidder in August, but it is taking its time to make sure the right decision is made,” the source says. “Now there will be no decision on this contract before the Eid al-Adha holidays [in mid-November].”

Gas reserves
Sq ft trillions
Year Gas reserves 
2005 239.5
2006 248.5
2007 253.8
2008 263
2009 275.2
Source: Saudi Aramco 

The tender for the contract was released in May by Aramco. A total of 14 local contractors are bidding for the contract for the four square kilometres of land where the onshore gas facilities for Wasit will be located (MEED 10:6:10).

Aramco had previously stated that it expected the work to be carried out by August 2011, but now it is not clear whether that date will have to be pushed back as a result of the failure to begin work on the site.

The contract includes surveys, land clearance and levelling works, construction of a total of 25km of asphalt roads and 12km of fences. An evaporation pond and a number of wells are also included in the contract.

The Wasit gas scheme will see the two offshore sulphur-heavy gas fields, Arabiyah and Hasbah, undergo development by Aramco. Around 2.5 billion cubic feet a day of gas will be produced from the fields and transported to the processing facility at Wasit.

Aramco is developing the project to service the booming domestic demand for gas in the kingdom.