Saudi Aramco is prequalifying contractors interesting in bidding for the water system package of its $5bn gasification project at Jizan in the southwestern region of Saudi Arabia.

The package is expected to be floated to contractors in mid-December. The scope of work for the scheme will include the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of a water intake pipeline for the gasification plant, a water treatment facility and all accompanying pipelines and other units.

“Aramco is at the prequalification stage now,” says a source based in Saudi Arabia. “No bid list is available yet.”

MEED reported in September that most of the major packages had been issued to contractors, but the bid deadlines have been pushed back until October.  The new submission dates are:

  • Gasification unit – extended to 23 October
  • Sulphur-recovery unit (SRU) and tail-gas treatment (TGT) unit – extended to 9 October
  • Combined-cycle power plant – extended to 9 October
  • Offsites and utilities – extended to 9 October

The extension for the gasification facility will be seen as another indication that the $7bn Jizan refinery scheme could be severely delayed.

The most worrying sign is that the tender for the air separation unit (ASU)/oxygen supply package on the project has yet to be issued, amid confusion as to what the exact contracting strategy will be.

The state-owned oil giant usually tenders gas supply deals on a build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) basis. However, it is now expected to request that prequalified bidders submit proposals that cover the package on a BOOT basis as well as a conventional EPC basis.

The UK/Dutch Shell Group is providing the gasification and acid gas removal technologies, and will also be providing engineering services on the scheme. According to Shell, the project will have the largest gas and residue gasification units in the world when completed.

The gasification process works by hydrocarbons, such as coal or heavy oil, being mixed with oxygen to produce synthesis gas (syngas). This is then used to fire a turbine and create power.

The scope of work for the entire project is the construction of an integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) power plant, which will have a capacity of 4,000MW.

The US’ KBR is carrying out the front-end engineering and design (feed), as well as the project management consultancy (PMC) for the refinery and power facility.