State-owned oil major Saudi Aramco has decided to significantly ramp up the capacity for its planned gas processing plant adjacent to the Fadhili oil field in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.

The initial scope of the scheme called for a capacity of 1 billion standard cubic feet a day (scf/d), but that is now being increased to 2.5 billion cubic feet a day (cf/d).

MEED reported in September 2013 that the US’ Foster Wheeler had been awarded the front-end engineering and design (feed) contract for the plant. The company has now been instructed to carry out further feed work to reflect the higher capacity of the processing facilities.

“The timeline for the project will now change to reflect the increased scope and this will mean an extension of about six months,” says an oil industry source based in Saudi Arabia. “It is not clear as yet whether the packages will change in any way, but this is an extremely large rise in capacity.  

The Fadhili plant will process sour gas from the Khursaniyah oil field and the Hasbah non-associated gas field. Aramco has ramped up its offshore non-associated gas operations in the Gulf in recent years and is developing several fields in the region. These include the Karan, Hasbah and Arabiyah fields.

Much of the gas contained in the oil major’s Eastern Province hydrocarbon assets is sour meaning it has a high sulphur content. This makes it more difficult to process than sweeter gas, which has minimal amounts of sulphur.

Aramco’s initial plan was to release three engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) packages for the scheme, with another separate contract that will deal with the offshore facilities. The contract model will be lump-sum turnkey with a percentage of the engineering work and project management to be carried out overseas. The proposed packages from the initial scope were:

  • Sulphur recovery unit (SRU)
  • Process utilities
  • Gas inlet and treatment

Saudi Aramco is still evaluating prequalification documents from EPC contractors. Contractors hoping to prequalify include:

The budget for the initial scheme was estimated to be in the region of $3bn, not including the offshore package. This is now expected to rise significantly.

Saudi Aramco declined to comment when contacted by MEED.