The planned expansion of Abu Dhabi-based Ruwais Fertiliser Company’s (Fertil’s) urea and ammonia production complex is being held up because the com-pany’s minority shareholder, France’s Total, has yet to approve a key contract award.

Sources close to the deal say South Korea’s Samsung Engineering & Construction and Germany’s Uhde submitted the lowest price for the contract to build the complex, at the company’s Ruwais export facility on the Gulf coast, in the September bidding round.

Fertil then recommended to its shareholders that it award the contract to the two companies (MEED 11:9:09).

Contractors that bid for the deal say Fertil’s majority shareholder, state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), has approved the award, but Total has yet to do so.

“All they need is a decision from Total, but the French seem to be taking their time over it,” says a senior executive at one international engineering firm based in Abu Dhabi.

One source close to the management of the scheme confirms that Total is reviewing Fertil’s choice of contractors.

Contractors had expected Fertil to award the deal at the start of October, but the source says Total will not make a decision until the end of the month. It covers a 2,000-tonne-a-day (t/d) ammonia plant and a 3,500-t/d urea train.

The winner will build the facilities under an engineering, procurement and construction deal.

Fertil currently produces 1,050 t/d of ammonia and 1,500 t/d of urea at its Ruwais plant, but further capacity is due to come on line later this year.

Total declined to comment.