Many companies are bidding for three management contracts to oversee the different sections of the scheme, with contract awards expected soon.

The refinery will boost petroleum production at the site by 2.7 million tones a year (t/y) to 5.3 million t/y. It will also pump 1.1 million t/y of petrochemical feedstock propylene.

More than 20 international firms have passed the preliminary qualification for the five main packages on the project, while local contractors will bid for three smaller packages covering the civil works element.

The company is staggering the tendering process for project management consultancy (PMC) and EPC contracts because of the technical complexity and size of Ruwais, say sources close to the scheme.

There are a lot of different contracts, so it will take a while to get everything sorted out correctly, says a source at one international contractor based in Abu Dhabi.

Building contracts will be for about 48 months, with the PMC contracts lasting even longer.

The company has set a deadline of July 19, 2009 for unpriced technical bids for the two main process packages on the project – packages one and two – with commercial bids due in September. Contractors hope for an award before the end of 2009.

Package one covers crude distillation units and associated downstream units.

Prequalified contractors include Uhde, SK Engineering & Construction, Tecnimont, TR, and Toyo Engineering Corporation.

Prequalifiers for package two, which covers a residue fluid-cracking unit and associated downstream units, include GS Engineering and Technip, alongside Chiyoda Corporation and JGC Corporation.