Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) has postponed making a decision on a proposed strategic alliance contract that will see the chemicals firm team up with engineering partners to manage its existing process plants in Saudi Arabia.

The alliance agreement is being developed by Sabic Engineering & Project Management (Sabic E&PM) and was initially expected to be awarded in the first quarter of 2013. However, this plan has now been pushed back to the summer at the earliest.

“The proposed bidders were expected to hear something about the agreement in February, but Sabic has now decided to wait before they make an award,” says an oil and gas executive working in the kingdom. “Everyone still expects an award to be made, but I think Sabic wants to nail down the terms and conditions of the deal first.”

MEED reported in late 2012 that the agreement will initially involve two international companies being given the responsibility for the upgrade of an existing complex controlled by Sabic. If the initial plan is successful, then eventually 15 plants will be split between the two partners. The length of the agreement would be five years.

Firms interested in bidding for the contract include:

  • Fluor Corporation (US)
  • Hyundai Engineering & Construction (South Korea)
  • Jacobs Engineering (US)
  • KBR (US)
  • Samsung Engineering (South Korea)
  • Technip (France)
  • WorleyParsons

The partnership agreement is believed to be similar to the general engineering services-plus (GES-plus) scheme that has been developed by state-owned oil major Saudi Aramco. In the GES-plus programme, five international consultancies provide in-kingdom engineering and project management support to Aramco in a move designed to increase the expertise of local engineering talent.