Saudi Aramco Mobil Refinery (Samref) is preparing the engineering procurement and construction (EPC) contracts for its $1.5bn Yanbu refinery upgrade in Saudi Arabia.

The front-end engineering and design (feed) is almost complete and EPC contracts should be released in early 2011, says a source close to the project.

“The project is proceeding as planned and the tenders for the EPC will be going out soon,” he source says. “Bids will need to be in by the second quarter with an award anticipated by the third quarter.”

Australia’s WorleyParsons won the $400m front-end engineering and design (feed) as well as engineering, procurement, construction and management (EPCM) of the facilities for Samref (MEED 24:4:09).

The Samref refinery at Yanbu needs to reduce the sulphur emissions in its gasoline in order for it to comply with new US regulations that will come into force in 2013. The Samref facility exports around 46,000 barrels-a-day of gasoline to the US.

The law change requires gasoline to have a sulphur content of less than 10 parts per million (ppm) and 1 per cent benzene by 2013. Diesel must have less than 50 ppm of sulphur by 2013 and 10 ppm by 2016.

Samref is a 50:50 joint venture between the state-owned Saudi Aramco and the France’s Mobil.