Saudi Arabian Fertiliser Company (Safco) is evaluating bids submitted to carry out the engineering, procurement and construction contract for its $500m urea plant expansion at its complex at Jubail in the kingdom.

International contractors submitted tenders for the project in late October and a decision is expected by the end of 2011.

“The evaluation process is in the early stages so we have not heard anything regarding frontrunners or favourites,” says a contracting source. “We expect a decision by the end of the year.”

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.

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)
  • GS Engineering & Construction (South Korea)
  • KBR (US)
  • Samsung Engineering (South Korea)
  • Saipem (Italy)
  • Uhde (Germany)

MEED reported in May that the project had previously been on hold as the Safco attempted to sort out feedstock issues with the Saudi Arabian authorities. Those feedstock issues are now resolved and additional gas has been secured from the Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ministry (MEED 20:5:11).

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.

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.