Saudi Aramco Refining Lubricating Company (Luberef) has postponed the bid deadline for a contract to design a $1bn expansion of its Yanbu lubricants refinery complex.

The company, a 70:30 joint venture of state energy giant Saudi Aramco and the local Jadwa Industrial Investment Company, had set a bid deadline of 18 April for the front end engineering and design (Feed) deal, but has asked interested firms for more time, sources close to the project tell MEED. The April deadline was in turn an extension from the original 15 March cut-off date for bids.

Luberef is reviewing the scope of the project, and has asked help from US engineering firm Bechtel to conduct value engineering studies to work out the most cost-effective way of building the expansion, a source says.

“They should have re-defined the scope of the project by around mid-May,” he says. “We would expect them to set a new bid date by around the end of the month or in early June if they decide to go ahead with it.”

The expansion will see Luberef add the production of high-quality type-3 lubricants, which are used in car engines and are not manufactured in the Gulf, to the Yanbu complex.

Firms lined up to bid on the deal include Japan’s JGC Corporation, Italy’s Saipem,  Foster Wheeler, and Jacobs Engineering, both of the US.