Saudi Aramco has selected the US’ KBR for the front end-engineering and design (feed) and project management consultancy (PMC) contract at the $7bn Jizan refinery in Saudi Arabia.

No contract has yet been signed by either party, but contracting sources familiar with the deal in the kingdom say that KBR’s bid is preferred by Aramco.

Aramco refining capacity
(Millions of barrels)
Year Refined products production
2005 590
2006 590
2007 570
2008 570
2009 500
Source: Saudi Aramco

“KBR has won Jizan,” a source tells MEED. “It must have been close because some people believed that FosterWheeler was edging it.”

The scope of works for the successful contractor will include the design of a 400,000 barrel-a-day hydroskimming refinery, with an associated marine terminal. As part of the project-managing package, the contractor will also be involved in tendering out and supervising the construction contracts (MEED 28:1:11).

As part of KBR’s bid, the majority of the work will be carried out from the company’s Leatherhead office, which is on the outskirts of London in the UK. It is believed that the amount of man hours involved in the feed section of the contract is between 1-1.2 million.

“This is going to keep KBR busy for a large part of 2011 and 2012,” another source says. “It was a brave decision to carry out the feed work from its London office, but the risk has paid off.”

The source adds that some of the other bidders for the Jizan feed and PMC contract had pledged to conduct a portion of the work in Saudi Arabia.

At this early stage, it is unclear how long the feed is going to take for Jizan, but the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts are expected to be released in late 2012. Work is due to be completed by about 2016.

The Jizan project was initially planned to become the first independent oil refinery in the kingdom. However, due to only two bids being submitted, Aramco took over management of the development in February 2010.