The Saudi Aramco Lubricating Oil Refining Company (Luberef) has made its final investment decision for its $1bn expansion project at its complex in Yanbu on the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia. The decision was approved by the board of directors.

MEED reported in June that the bid deadline for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts for expansion had been extended to 1 September. Awards are expected in October.

The remaining bidders on the project are:

The companies who now will not be participating include:

  • Chiyoda (Japan)
  • CTCI (Taiwan)
  • SK Engineering & Construction (South Korea)
  • Techint (Italy)
  • Technip (France)
  • Tecnimont (Italy)
  • SNC Lavalin (Canada)

The project is being tendered as one lump-sum turnkey (LSTK) contract, which will be a combination of grassroots construction and brownfield rehabilitation. The exact scope was previously unknown, but documents seen by MEED indicate it will involve the construction of a 23,000-barrel-a-day (b/d) lube hydrocracker and catalytic ISO-dewaxing complex, which will include hydrogen manufacturing, sour gas absorption, sulphur recovery and prilling units.

Luberef also plans to increase the vacuum distillation unit (VDU) capacity to 40,000 b/d, from 26,000 b/d, and increase propane deasphalting from 6,500 b/d to 12,500 b/d, as well as increase the asphalt capacity to 12,000 b/d.

Other upgrades will include modifying existing pipework and building a new water-cooling system, complete with cooling towers.