State-owned oil company Saudi Aramco has invited eight contractors to pre-qualify for the gasification package at the proposed $3bn-$5bn gasification project at Jizan in the southwest of the kingdom.

Aramco has invited contractors that have extensive experience in gasification technology for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract, which most believe will be the highest value package of the whole scheme.

“Gasification is a highly complex process and Aramco, quite rightly, only wants to deal with companies that have experience,” says an oil and gas executive working in Saudi Arabia. “However, you could see some partnerships being made to make some of the companies more competitive.”   

The eight contractors are:

  • CB&I Lummus (US)
  • Chiyoda (Japan)
  • Foster Wheeler (US)
  • JGC Corporation (Japan)
  • KBR (US)
  • Sinopec (China)
  • Saipem (Italy)
  • Tecnicas Reunidas (Spain)

All of the contractors with extensive EPC experience are expected to bid independently for the package, but CB&I Lummus, Foster Wheeler and KBR are three companies that are expected to form a consortium with an EPC contractor to bid.

The scope of works for the entire project is the construction of an integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) power plant, which will have a capacity of 2,400MW and use technology provided by the UK/Dutch Shell Group.

The IGCC model is an unconventional method of building a power plant and works by mixing hydrocarbons with oxygen to produce synthesis gas (syngas), which is then used to fire turbines.

The US’ KBR is carrying out the front-end engineering and design (feed) as well as the project management consultancy (PMC) for the refinery and power plant.

As well as the gasification the other packages for the scheme that are in the prequalification process are:

  • Air separation unit/oxygen supply
  • Combined-cycle power plant
  • Offsites and utilities
  • Sulphur recovery

MEED reported in late February that the air separation unit package will now be released on an ‘over the fence’ basis, which means that the winning contractors will build, own and operate the facility.