Saudi Aramco Lubricating Oil Refining Company (Luberef) has started the prequalification process for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts for its $1bn expansion project at Yanbu in Saudi Arabia.

The solicitations of interest (SOI) have been sent out to both local and international contractors in the kingdom, with the tender process due to begin in early 2012.

“Luberef is prequalifying now and has sent SOIs out to most of the major EPC contractors,” says a contracting source based in Saudi Arabia. “This is a relatively large project with some interesting packages available.”   

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.

MEED reported in February that the US’ Jacobs Engineering was awarded the front-end engineering and design work for the expansion (MEED 4:2:11)

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.