Saudi Aramco has awarded the US’ Foster Wheeler for the front-end engineering and design (feed) for its planned expansion at the Khurais oil field.

Aramco plans to add 300,000 barrels a day (b/d) to the field’s current capacity of 1.2 million b/d and Foster Wheeler will be in charge of the design for the new facilities required for the scheme.  

“Foster Wheeler carried out the feed for the original field development and knows the area and the current facilities very well,” says an oil and gas source based in Saudi Arabia. “This is an excellent win for them.”

The scope of works will include the installation of crude handling, stabilisation, and gas compression facilities as well as pipelines and offsites and utilities.

The number of man hours expected for the feed is about 500,000. This will equate to an engineering, procurement and construction phase that will be worth about $3bn when it is tendered. The tenders for the scheme are expected to be released in the middle of 2014.

Khurais is located adjacent to the Ghawar oil field, one of the world’s largest, in the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia. It began production in 2009 and produces 1.2 million b/d of light Arabian crude as well as 320 million standard cubic feet-a-day of gas and 80,000 b/d of natural gas liquids.

MEED reported in August that the expansion at Khurais, as well as the planned increase of 250,000 b/d at the Shaybah field in the Empty Quarter, will ease production at other oil fields and not increase the kingdom’s 12.5 million capacity.   

The scheme marks a return to the upstream oil sector for Aramco. The last five years have been dominated by gas, refining and petrochemicals schemes.

However, Aramco producing about 10 million b/d of crude to make up for continued shortfalls in global supply has put some pressure on existing fields. This has prompted the state-owned oil company to act.