Saudi Aramco is expected to sign general engineering services plus (GES plus) contracts with engineering firms by mid-November.

“All seven contractors were fine technically speaking and were just different on price,” says a source close to the project. “Aramco have tabulated the bids and have ranked the companies. I don’t have the precise information about the ranking and they invited the last three to discuss their rates.”

Aramco’s initial plan was to eliminate two contractors from the list, then sign a framework agreement with the remaining five. Sources close to the negotiations now expect all seven to be offered contracts.

“The last three ranked contractors have been called in by Aramco and asked to readjust their quotations,” the source says. “This indicates that Aramco wants all the contractors to have homogenous rates and that they want to deal with all seven bidders.”

“All [seven bidders] have spent a lot of money on the GES plus bid. It would not be fair on two contractors to miss out after taking the time to formulate a bid,” he adds.

Bidders for the Aramco GES plus contract:

  • Foster Wheeler (US)
  • Jacobs (US)
  • KBR (US)
  • Mustang Engineering (US)
  • SNC Lavalin (Canada)
  • Technip (France)
  • Worley Parsons (Australia)

The scope of works for the project includes working with the state-owned oil giant’s project management team to provide detailed engineering and construction management services for a wide range of Aramco projects, including oil and gas, and infrastructure.

The reason behind the GES plus is that Aramco has been looking to narrow the field for the number of active contractors it uses from 20-30 to a more manageable number. All of the bidders also have agreed to carry out engineering work in-kingdom and use local contractors whenever possible.  

“Aramco is hoping that this will help with its Saudisation programme,” another source familiar with the project says. “It wants to get more local workers involved in the more complex engineering processes.”  

Tenders for the GES plus contract were submitted to Saudi Aramco on 7 September (MEED 24:9:10).

Saudi Aramco were not available for comment when contacted by MEED.