The joint venture partners behind a $10.8bn aluminium project in Saudi Arabia have released an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) tender for a $200m tank farm to be built at Ras al-Zour in the kingdom.

A total of 10 companies have been invited to bid for the project, which is being managed by the US’ Fluor and Australia’s WorleyParsons and being run out of their office in Brisbane, Australia.  

“The tenders have been released and the bidding is under way,” says a source in Saudi Arabia. “It is not an open bid, companies have had to prequalify.”

“Meetings have been held in Brisbane, but there has been some delays due to the flooding that has taken place. Because of this, it is likely the bid deadline could be extended,” the source adds. 

The source declined to reveal the names of the bidders citing confidentiality issues.

The bid deadline is currently scheduled for the end of February, but it is now possible that this may be extended to mid-March. The owners of the project, the Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) and the US’ Alcoa, will then announce the winner in mid-April.

“Maaden and Alcoa are fast-tracking the whole project, so they will only take a month to make a decision,” the source says.

The contract is for about 18 months, with completion due for mid-2012. The scope of works includes both shop and on-site fabrication of tanks.

The aluminium complex will include a rolling mill with a capacity of up to 450,000 tonnes a year (t/y), a 1.8 million-t/y alumina refinery and a 740,000-t/y aluminium smelter, with a 4 million-t/y bauxite mine being built at Al-Baitha (MEED 25:1:11).

Maaden holds a 74.9 per cent stake in the aluminium complex, while Alcoa owns the remaining 25.1 per cent.