January 16, 2011 / 2:59 PM / 7 years ago

S.Korea firms lead race for Aramco's Wasit-sources

* South Korean firms likely to win Wasit deals

* SK, Daelim submit competitive prices

* Plant part of a push to increase gas processing capacity

RIYADH, Jan 16 (Reuters) - South Korean firms lead the race for deals to build Saudi Aramco’s [SDABO.UL] largest gas plant Wasit, which is part of the state oil firm’s push to raise gas processing capacity, industry sources said on Sunday.

Gas projects have taken priority in the world’s top oil exporter as they can cater for rising domestic demand and help Saudi Arabia avoid burning oil it would rather sell internationally.

South Korea’s SK Engineering and Construction [SKEC.UL] is lowest bidder on three construction packages which are, the gas unit, the sulphur recovery unit, and the NGL fractionation facilities, sources said.

South Korea’s Daelim Industrial (000210.KS) is front-runner on the co-generation plant, two sources said. However, other sources said Samsung Engineering (028050.KS)’s could also be in the running for that package.

    Aramco’s spokesman could not immediately comment on the deals. <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ For a table on companies that bid for Wasit, please click on [ID:nLDE69Q0R5] ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^>

    Wasit would be designed to process 2.5 billion cubic feet per day (cfd) of gas from the offshore non-associated sour gas fields Arabiyah and Hasbah when completed in 2014.

    It would also produce around 1.75 billion cfd of sales gas.

    Wasit is one of the gas plants Aramco plans to build. The other one is Shaybah Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) whose bids are now under evaluation.

    “Nobody believes three to four packages to go to one company, maximum two packages for one company,” said a source who declined to be identified. “They have to see the balance between Wasit and Shaybah and Aramco is rushing to evaluate Shaybah,” the source added.

    However another source said the list of winning companies is almost final. “Who can meet such a low price? it is a great price, prices were quite lower than expected,” the source said.

    Aramco Chief Executive Khalid al-Falih had said that together with two other plants, Khursaniyah and Karan, the Wasit plant would help Saudi Arabia process its targeted production increase of raw gas to 15.5 billion cubic feet per day (cfd) by 2015 from 10.2 billion cfd. [ID:nLDE63P1QZ] (Reporting by Reem Shamseddine; Editing by David Holmes)

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