Italy’s Saipem and the Athens-based Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) have emerged as the favourites to be awarded the central processing facilities and pipeline packages at Saudi Aramco’s $3bn expansion of its Khurais oil field.

MEED reported in early September that four engineering, procurement and construction packages had been shortlisted for the main processing facilities. Saipem are now believed to be on the verge of being awarded the scheme with a bid of about $1.6bn.

South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering and Construction is the second lowest bidder and sources say the price is extremely close to Saipem’s bid.  

“Considering the high budget it is close,” says an oil and gas source based in Saudi Arabia. “Aramco is getting close to award this and [Khurais] and the deals should be signed by mid-October at the latest.”  

CCC is expected to pick up the seawater and Mazlij-Abu Jifan pipelines in a deal worth several hundred million dollars. The company was bidding against several local contractors for the scheme.

MEED reported in the October 2013 that US’ Foster Wheeler is carrying out the front-end engineering and design (feed) for the scheme.

Aramco plans to add 300,000 barrels a day (b/d) to the field’s current capacity of 1.2 million b/d. Khurais is located adjacent to the Ghawar oil field, one of the world’s largest, in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. It began operations in 2009 and produces 1.2 million b/d of light Arabian crude, 320 million cubic feet a day (cf/d) of gas and 80,000 b/d of natural gas liquids (NGLs).

The expansion at Khurais, as well as the planned increase of 250,000 b/d at the Shaybah field in the Empty Quarter, will ease production at other oil fields and will not increase the kingdom’s 12.5 million b/d capacity.

Saudi Aramco was not available for comment when contacted by MEED.