Saudi Aramco Lubricating Oil Refining Company (Luberef) has selected the US’ Jacobs for the front-end engineering and design (feed) for its $800m-$1bn expansion project at Yanbu in Saudi Arabia.

Jacobs saw off competition from fellow frontrunner the US’ CB&I Lummus as well as two other US-based bidders, Foster Wheeler and Bechtel, to secure the deal (MEED 29:10:10).

“It was very close, but Jacobs has won the deal,” says a Saudi Arabia-based contracting source. “It has taken the joint venture partners a while to make this decision.”

The job is significant and will result in about 300,000 man hours of work for Jacobs.

The expansion at Luberef’s Yanbu refinery will include the construction of a lube hydrocracker that will produce high quality type-three oil, used in the engines of luxury cars. Type-three oil is not produced in the Gulf.

Other work includes increasing the capacity of the vacuum distillation unit and adding storage tanks, as well as an upgrade of electrical facilities.

Luberef currently produces about 280,000 tonnes a year (t/y) of lubricants at its Yanbu refinery and about 550,000 t/y in total from Yanbu and Jeddah. The company has not disclosed the exact capacity of the expansion.

Luberef is a 70:30 joint venture of state-owned Saudi Aramco and the US oil major ExxonMobil.