Sheila McNulty ConocoPhillips, Saudi Aramco relaunch refinery bidding: another sign of recovery

ConocoPhillips and the Saudi Arabian OIl Company (Saudi Aramco) announced on Tuesday they were relaunching the bidding process for the construction of a 400,000 barrel-per-day export refinery at the Yanbu Industrial City in Saudi Arabia.

They had pulled the bidding when the worst of the economic crisis and poor commodity prices were upon the oil industry, hoping for better market conditions to generate more interest in the construction. At the time, the companies cited uncertainties in the financial and contracting markets in delaying the process.

The original plans were for bids to be submitted during December 2008. Now some bids are to be awarded in November 2009 and the others in the second quarter of 2010.

Khalid Al-Buainain, senior vice president for Refining, Marketing and International at Saudi Aramco explained why the bidding was back on:

Market improvements have provided a good opportunity to reactivate the bidding process.

That the companies believe there is enough interest (and financial backing) out there to get in on the bidding is a good sign of an improving economy.

Indeed, they have already handed out invitations for bid notices for the early work and major packages to prequalified local and international contractors.

The major packages include a coker unit, crude facility, gasoline unit, hydrocracker, tank farm, offsite pipelines, high volate electrical paages, as well as other infrastructure packages. The project is targeted to start up in in the third quarter of 2014.

Looks like it is all systems go….