Shell seeks contractors for Sasref expansion

23 June 2006

The Hague office of Royal Dutch/Shell Group has started an early works programme for the proposed expansion of Jubail-based Saudi Aramco Shell Refinery Company (Sasref) refinery. Contractors submitted prequalifications in late May for the front-end engineering and design (FEED) package, which has an option for the successful bidder to carry out the main engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract. The expansion is expected to cover the construction of an ultra-low sulphur diesel (ULSD) and aromatics complex (MEED 20:5:05).

'Shell has started an initial scouting exercise for contractors,' says a Sasref official. 'A tender is targeted to be issued by the third quarter, subject to approval by the [Sasref] board. We are working on finalising capacity, configuration and end products of the expansion.' The FEED contract is planned to be awarded in October.

Estimated to cost $250 million-300 million, the expansion will involve the construction of a diesel hydrocracker, hydrogen processing unit, sulphur recovery and sour water treatment units, reactors, separators and related facilities. Sasref has already carried out an initial feasibility for the project.

Sasref, a 50:50 joint venture of Saudi Aramco and Shell, operates the 305,000-barrel-a-day (b/d) refinery, which receives its Arabian light crude from Aramco.

In late May, Sasref announced the award of two contracts worth a total of $90 million to Petrocon Arabia (PAL), the in-kingdom affiliate of Australia's WorleyParsons, and Japan's Yokogawa Middle East (YME) as part of its phase 2 refinery instrumentation upgrade masterplan (IMP) scheme.

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