Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco) has still not made any decisions regarding the bidders for the front-end engineering and design (feed) and project management consultancy (PMC) contracts for the $9bn-plus rehabilitation and expansion of its Sitra refinery project.

MEED reported in January that the US’ Bechtel was the lowest bidder for the feed while Engineers India was the lowest for the PMC.

However, speaking at the MEED Bahrain Energy Conference 2014 the Bapco chairman, Adel Khalil al-Moayyad, said that no decisions had yet been made. The official added that talks were being held with Technology Partners and that it was still “early days” to consider engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts.

The complexity of the feed coupled with no indication of a timeline for EPC tenders suggests that the project completion date is now likely to be towards 2020.

The technology provider contract is expected to be tendered via Bahrain’s tender board in mid-2014. The probable date has been set for July, unless Bapco’s engineering team identifies a specific provider as being the only company capable of providing the right technology. In that case, a formal negotiation will take place between the two parties.

The rehabilitation has been split into four packages and the feed will cover all of these. These are:

  • Offsites and utilities
  • Crude unit and associated facilities
  • Hydrocracker and associated units
  • Residue conversion project

The residue conversion unit has been identified as the most important facility as it will process heavier crude types into lighter-grade products. A possible strategy is to build the residue conversion unit first and use the money generated from that unit to fund the remaining work.

Al-Moayyad also suggested that some of the proposed new production could be used as feedstock for domestic petrochemicals, but added that no decision had been made regarding the issue.

About 220,000 barrels a day (b/d) of oil is currently provided by Saudi Arabia’s state oil company Saudi Aramco, with 40,000 b/d coming from Bahrain’s own reserves. The exact increase in capacity that Bapco’s rehabilitation and expansion will provide has not been released. Industry sources told MEED in June that the figure should be about 100,000 b/d, but could be as high as 400,000 b/d.