Saudi Aramco has released the tender for the Ras Tanura refinery clean fuels and aromatics project in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.

MEED reported in August that contractors had been prequalified for the re-bid and were waiting for the tender to be released. The 10 contractors prequalified by Aramco are:

The project will be split into two tenders now as per the MEED report of April 2014, which said the paraxylene package was being dropped to lower costs.

“The scope is about 25 per cent less in terms of work than the initial offering by Aramco,” says a source familiar with the scheme. “This means that the budget is now between $2bn-$3bn.”

The two packages that will be released are:

  • Offsites and utilities
  • Naphtha and toluene 

The naphtha and toluene package will be split into units with the following capacities:

  • Naphtha hydrotreater – 140,000 barrels a day (b/d)
  • Catalytic cracking reformer – 90,000 b/d
  • Isomerisation – 65,000 b/d
  • Toluene – 70,000 b/d

Prequalified contractors will visit the site on September 17-18 before a two-month bid formulation period.

The timeline for the scheme is tentatively expected to be the following:

  • Commercial and technical submission date: December 2014
  • Contract award: February/March 2015
  • Construction schedule: 36 months

The Ras Tanura refinery is fully owned by Aramco and is the largest oil facility in Saudi Arabia, with a capacity of 550,000 b/d. Aramco is currently upgrading its domestic refining capacity to lower the sulphur content of its downstream output and diversify the amount of refined products it manufactures.

Ras Tanura has also been earmarked as a potential site for additional petrochemicals production facilities, as part of the kingdom’s refining petrochemicals integration initiative, along with Jizan in the southwest of the kingdom and Yanbu on the Red Sea coast.