Saudi Aramco has awarded China Harbour Engineering Arabia the contract for the port dredging and reclamation works at the Jizan Economic City (JEC) in the southwest of the kingdom.

The Chinese contractor won the contract against rival bids from four other groups. The scheme is being fast-tracked to complete the port facilities before the $7bn Jizan refinery becomes operational. China Harbour’s bid was for more than $400m

“This is a decent-sized dredging project and is a good win for China Harbour,” says a Saudi-based source familiar with the contract. “However, they will be under a lot of pressure to get this project finished quickly, so it will not be without its risks.”

Aramco domestic refined product sales (millions of barrels)
Product Central region Eastern region Western region Total
LPG 1.9 6.2 5.5 13.7
Gasoline  64.3 35.2 76.3 175.9
Jet fuel  7.7 2.8 14.1 24.7
Diesel  80.1 58.9 114.4 253.4
Fuel oil 0.2 2.2 94.9 97.5
Asphalt 7.3 8.7 6.9 22.9
Total  161.5 114 312.1 588.1
LPG=Liquefied petroleum gas. Source: Aramco

The port dredging and reclamation works package is a vital component of the Jizan project, because it needs to be completed by mid-2015 to take delivery of much of the heavy machinery needed for the refinery.

MEED reported in May that the scope of works will include dredging a channel to the port, building a 12-kilometre breakwater, a jetty as well as large-scale reclamation. The amount of dredging required is estimated at about 30 million cubic metres. The reclamation will provide the land for the construction of Aramco’s marine terminal, as well as for any future expansion planned by the JEC.

The Jizan refinery scheme is running a few months behind schedule, but Aramco has said it still plans for the facility to be fully operational by 2017-18.

The project was initially meant to be carried out by the original developers of the JEC, the local Saudi Binladin Group and Malaysia’s MMC Corporation, but the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (Sagia) dropped them from the project in early April. 

MEED reported in March 2012 that Aramco was to take over the major infrastructure projects at JEC to speed up their development.