Saudi Arabian Fertiliser Company (Safco) has released the tender for the engineering, procurement and construction contract for its $500m urea plant expansion at its complex at Jubail in the kingdom.

The Safco 5 expansion involves the construction of a further urea train that will add an additional 3,250 tonnes a day capacity to the current facilities at the plant.

“This project has been on hold as Safco tried to sort out the feedstock issues with the authorities,” says a source familiar with the project. “Those issues are now resolved so hopefully an award will be made regarding this project by the fourth quarter [of 2011].”

The Safco expansion has been in the planning stages for some time as the company tried to secure additional gas feedstock from the Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ministry. Completion of the scheme is expected to be in late 2013.

The scope of works for the expansion includes the construction of a urea reactor, separation units and concentrator, heat exchangers and condensers, a carbamate absorber unit, evaporation and debottlenecking plant, as well as air and carbon dioxide compressors.

The contract is being tendered on a lump-sum turnkey basis.

The contractors bidding for the EPC contract include:

  • Chiyoda (Japan)
  • Daelim (South Korea)
  • KBR (US)
  • Samsung Engineering (South Korea)
  • Saipem/Technip (Italy/France)
  • Uhde (Germany)

Safco is one of the largest producers of urea in the world with an annual production capacity of more than 2.6 million tonnes of urea at its complex in the Eastern Province. Around 13 per cent of the total is sold to the domestic market with 87 per cent exported.

Urea is mainly used as nitrogen fertiliser, but other applications include production of melamine, urea-formaldehyde resin and acrylate plastic.

Safco is a subsidiary of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation and the company has a 41 per cent stake in the company, with the remaining stock being held by company employees and private investors.