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Mon 1 Oct 2007 10:33 AM

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Global giants bid for Aramco plant

Three international engineering firms vie for contract to build Saudi oil firm's $8bn oil refinery in Ras Tanura.

Three international engineering firms are vying for a Saudi Aramco contract to help the world's largest oil company build an $8 billion refinery in eastern Saudi Arabia.

The state-run national oil firm received bids on Saturday from global conglomerate Foster Wheeler, Australian-based firm WorleyParsons and Canadian engineering firm SNC-Lavalin Group, Zawya Dow Jones reported yesterday, citing sources familiar with the plans.

The contract includes project management and early engineering for the planned 400,000 barres per day (bpd) crude oil refinery.

The plant - to be located in Ras Tanura in the Eastern province - is set to be the fourth new facility to be built in the kingdom. The company already operates a 550,000 bpd refinery - Saudi's largest - in the east coast city.

Saudi Aramco is expected to award the contract in November and the refinery is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2011.

The new Ras Tanura refinery is expected to boost Aramco's refining capacity to more than 3.5 million barrels a day by 2012.

Other Gulf countries are also investing in new refineries as the energy industry strains to meet rising global fuel demand.

Kuwait last week approved a $14.29 billion budget to build the Middle East's largest refinery, the 615,000 bpd al-Zour plant near the Saudi border.

Al-Zour is set to exceed the capacity of the Middle East's current largest refinery, Saudi Arabia's 550,000-bpd Ras Tanura plant.

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