WorleyParsons’ expected win marks the next stage in the development of the project after client Saudi Aramco revealed plans for the refinery in early June (MEED 13:6:07).

Only three companies – WorleyParsons, the US’ Foster Wheeler and Canada’s SNC Lavalin – submitted bids to Aramco for the contract.

Two companies, the US’ KBR and Japan’s JGC Corporation, withdrew despite being invited to bid because of heavy workloads elsewhere.

Aramco is expected to own the refinery completely, as its output will be confined to domestic use.

It will contain several process elements, including a 231,000-b/d vacuum unit, a 91,000-b/d diesel hydrotreater unit and a 123,000 b/d visbreaker, to increase the yield of more valuable middle distillates.

It will also house a 33 million-cubic-feet-a-day hydrogen plant, a 35,000-b/d isomerisation unit and a 55,000-b/d crude catalytic reformer.

Other process elements include a 195-tonne-a-day (t/d) sulphur recovery facility, an 820-gallon-a-minute diglycolamine (DGA) plant and a 225-gallon-a-minute sewer water stripper unit. The mechanical completion of the refinery is due by the end of 2011 (MEED 27:7:07).

Aramco is hoping to build up to three other refineries in the kingdom, with refining capacity set to grow by 1.6 million b/d during the next five years to reach 3.8 million b/d by 2012.

It has signed deals with France’s Total and the US’ Conoco-Phillips to build refineries at Jubail and Yanbu, although there are difficulties over rising costs.