Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil exporter, has received technical and commercial bids for two packages with estimated value of $3bn for its Ras Tanura refinery Clean Fuels Project, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Aramco had invited the international companies to submit their bids by 11 May for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts for the project on the kingdom’s Gulf coast.

However, the bids were submitted in the third week of July and are still being evaluated, the sources said. The bidders from the group of eight prequalified international companies for the package 1 – the main processing unit – are understood to include:

For package 2, which includes the offsites and utilities the bidders are understood to include:

In May, Aramco awarded Saudi Arabia-based Nesma & Partners two EPC contracts for the early works and site preparation packages for the clean fuels project.

State oil company Saudi Aramco awarded Nesma & Partners the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) deals for the early works and site preparation packages.

Early works

  • 69kV cable relocation and demolition
  • Communication duct bank relocation
  • Heavy haul gate, 23 modifications

Site preparation

  • Process area site preparation
  • Construction segregation fence
  • New security gate 45 site preparation
  • South terminal road upgrades
  • New Rahma ID office site preparation
  • Temporary facilities site preparation

The two packages are each estimated to be worth about $200m.

The Ras Tanura scheme was meant to have been awarded in late 2013 or early 2014, but was earmarked for retendering after the original bids came in well over Aramco’s preferred budget.

The naphtha and toluene package was to be split into units with the following capacities:

Naphtha hydrotreater – 140,000 barrels a day (b/d)

Catalytic cracking reformer – 90,000 b/d

Isomerisation – 65,000 b/d

Toluene – 70,000 b/d

Aramco resurrected the project after the long-awaited scheme was put on hold in January 2015 due to Aramco wanting to manage its cash flow and ring-fence more essential projects, industry sources told MEED.

Ras Tanura has also been earmarked as a potential site for additional petrochemicals production facilities, as part of the kingdom’s refining petrochemicals integration initiative, along with Jizan in the southwest of the kingdom and Yanbu on the Red Sea coast. However, these plans are almost certain to stall by several years as oil prices remain low.

US-based engineering group Jacobs was awarded the front-end engineering and design (feed) study and the project management consultancy (PMC) related works on the project, it was revealed in August 2012.

The Ras Tanura refinery is fully owned by Saudi Aramco and is the largest oil refinery in the kingdom, with a capacity of 550,000 b/d.