Saudi Aramco Lubricating Oil Refining Company (Luberef) has shortlisted two contractors for the front-end engineering and design (feed) for its $800m-$1bn expansion project at Yanbu in Saudi Arabia.

A source familiar with the project tells MEED that out of the four companies who submitted bids, the US’s Jacobs and the US’ CBI & Lummus are the frontrunners for the deal.

 “The bids are now in for the Luberef [expansion project] feed,” the source says. “Jacobs and CBI & Lummus have been recommended to the board by the project team.

“This is a big feed job, probably more than 300,000 man hours, so while Jacobs and CBI are frontrunners the recommendations still have to be approved by the board,” he adds.  

The other two bidders on the project are Bechtel and Foster Wheeler from the US.

The expansion at Luberef’s Yanbu refinery will include the construction of a lube hydrocracker that will produce high quality type-three oil, which is used in the engines of luxury cars (MEED 28:4:10). Currently type-three oil is not produced in the Gulf.

Other work includes increasing the capacity of the vacuum distillation unit and adding storage tanks, as well as an upgrade of electrical facilities.

Luberef currently produces around 280,000 tonne-a-year of lubricants at its Yanbu refinery and about 550,000-t/y in total from both Yanbu and Jeddah. The company has not disclosed the exact capacity of the expansion.

Luberef is a 70:30 joint venture between the state-owned Saudi Aramco and the US oil major ExxonMobil.