State oil firm Saudi Aramco and state utility Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) are expected to issue tenders to prequalified groups to develop their Fadhili cogeneration plant in the first quarter of 2015.

Aramco and SEC had originally planned to issue tender documents in mid-September for the Fadhili plant, which is planned to be developed as an independent power project (IPP). The joint-venture client prequalified nine groups for the tender after receiving expressions of interest (EoI) from 15 groups in early August.

The delay is believed to be due to some design changes being requested by the client, according to sources in the kingdom’s power sector.

The gas-fired Fadhili power plant is being jointly developed by Aramco and SEC, with Aramco the offtaker for the steam component and SEC the offtaker for the produced electricity.

It is planned that Aramco will use the steam to power its planned 1 billion cubic-foot-a-day (cf/d) Fadhili gas plant at the Fadhili oil field in the eastern province of the kingdom. However, according to sources close to the project, SEC and Aramco are still in discussion over whether plant production will be split into a separate power purchase agreement (PPA) and steam purchase agreement (SPA).

The IPP will have a power generation capacity of about 1,300MW to 1,500MW and will have a steam production capacity of about 2.25 million pounds an hour (lb/h).

The client will create a project company to develop the IPP, with the client holding 50-60 per cent of equity ownership, and the successful developer holding the remainder.

The project is likely to include the construction of a 380kV substation to connect the power plant to the national grid. Operation and maintenance of the substation will then be transferred to SEC at the beginning of commercial operation. SEC will be responsible for the necessary upgrades for interconnecting the project to the grid.

Aramco started the prequalification for the Fadhili gas processing plant in July.

The plant will process sour gas from the Khursaniyah oil field and the Hasbah non-associated gas field. Aramco has ramped up its offshore non-associated gas operations in the Gulf in recent years and is developing several fields in the region. These include the Karan, Hasbah and Arabiyah fields.

Aramco is boosting operations to supply the kingdom with gas for both power generation and industrial use. It plans to produce 15 billion cf/d of gas for domestic use by 2017-18.