An award is imminent on the fifth-stage expansion of its Rabigh power plant on the Red Sea coast, which will add a further 1,000MW of crude-fired capacity.

The local National Contracting Company (NCC) is frontrunner for the lump-sum engineering, procurement and construction and turbine supply contract after submitting a low bid of about SR3bn ($802m) earlier this year.

Arabian Bemco Contracting was ranked second on price with an offer believed to be 10-15 per cent higher (MEED 6:4:07).

SEC has also issued invitation to bid documents for the contract to convert its Eastern Province Al-Qurayyah power plant to combined cycle.

Three contractors – Bemco, NCC and South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries – are believed to be preparing to submit bids by the end of the first quarter of next year for the contract, which covers the addition of just over 1,000MW of new gas-fired generating capacity.

The contract to build the 1,900MW first-stage open cycle portion of the project was awarded earlier this year to Bemco in a deal worth SR2.14bn ($570m).

The turbines are being supplied by the US’ GE Energy in a one-off experiment by SEC to reduce development periods by procuring the turbines separately (MEED 8:6:07). The kingdom needs to add more than 2,000MW a year for the next 10 years if is to meet rapidly rising energy demand.