Companies are now preparing to submit bids in late February for the estimated $800m marine engineering works at the $5bn Ras al-Khair maritime complex, located on the east coast of the kingdom.

The tender closing date has been extended several times and was originally due to be submitted last year.

The prospective bidders for the contract include:

A range of facilities will be built at Ras al-Khair, including seven fully equipped dry docks, two basins and five piers, a ship lift system, workshops, warehouses and utility services areas, as well as office buildings, living quarters, and recreational facilities for more than 10,000 workers.

A consortium of the Netherlands’ Royal Haskoning and South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering & Construction said it was awarded a five-month front-end engineering and design (feed) contract for the project last year.

The scheme is being managed by Saudi Aramco.

Aramco signed an agreement with the local National Shipping Company (Bahri), the UAE’s Lamprell Energy and South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries, in January this year for maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services.

The Ras al-Khair complex has other components including a forging and casting facility, for which Aramco has already signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the US’ GE and Italy’s Cividale.

GE and Cividale are investing more than $400m to construct a first of its kind facility that is set to be operational in 2020 and will create 2,000 jobs, according to a June press statement.

Aramco and Germany’s MAN have also signed an MoU to establish a vessel engine manufacturing facility in the complex, sources say.

Ras al-Khair is part of Aramco plans to spend $334bn in the next 10 years as the firm looks to improve oil and gas infrastructure and boost the kingdom’s economic competitiveness through the development of industrial hubs.