South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering & Construction Company is the favourite to win a $470m-plus deal to build a new lubricants plant at Ruwais for Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company (Takreer) after submitting the lowest price in a 16 May bid round.

The company’s $471m price for the engineering, procurement and construction contract (EPC) was significantly lower than that of the closest bidder, fellow South Korean firm Samsung Engineering, which submitted a price of $527m. Spain’s Tecnicas Reunidas was the third-lowest bidder, valuing the deal at $584m.

Other bidders included Paris-based Technip, with a price of $585m, South Korea’s Hanwha Engineering & Construction, which bid $589m, Taiwan’s China Technical Consultants (CTCI), which valued the deal at $620m, and Japan’s Toyo which submitted a price of $727m in time for the 16 May deadline (MEED 16:5:10).

“It is a pretty low bid,” says a source at one competing firm. “Clearly they really wanted it, and saw it as a good chance to break into the Abu Dhabi market – they only recently set up an office over here.”

If Hyundai is successful, it will build a 300,000 barrel a day base oil refinery at Ruwais. Base oils are heavy grades of oil commonly used as industrial lubricants. Takreer currently blends its base oils into fuel oil and then sells this on the open market.

Technical bids for the EPC deal went in on 29 March.