Germany’s Uhde is believed to be the only contractor to have submitted a price for the engineering, procurement and construction contract to build a 3,250-tonne-a-day urea plant using technology licensed from Stamicarbon of The Netherlands.

The plant will use ammonia feedstock, which is produced at the complex (MEED 24:2:08).

Most of the eight international contractors licensed to build urea trains using Stamicarbon technology were invited to bid for the deal.

A lack of competition for major projects is increasingly common as contractors have little additional capacity to take on fresh work. In early June, South Korea’s Hanwha Engineering & Construction was the only bidder to build a bitumen plant at Sohar despite four other companies being prequalified (MEED 3:6:08).

Uhde’s bid is believed to be above Safco’s initial budget and it will probably have to submit a revised price. Failing that, the client may retender the scheme.

The plant has already been delayed once after it was postponed last year because of rising engineering, procurement and construction costs. It was revived earlier this year after the rising price of urea fertiliser on the international market made the urea train project more attractive (MEED 24:2:08).