US, China EPC contractors named for Satorp oil refinery work in Saudi

KBR and Wison Engineering picked for debottlenecking of 440,000 barrels per day refinery in Jubail

View from the top of the Satorp refinery's paraxylene distillation tower in Jubail.
© Total
View from the top of the Satorp refinery's paraxylene distillation tower in Jubail.

New York Stock Exchange-listed engineering company KBR announced it had named China’s Wison Engineering as subcontractor on a Satorp project in Saudi Arabia.

News of the contract win came after KBR was picked by Satorp – a joint venture of state-owned energy giant Saudi Aramco and France’s Total – to debottleneck Train 2 of its crude oil refinery in Jubail, which has a production capacity of 440,000 barrels per day.

KBR’s debottlenecking work is expected to raise the refinery’s throughput by 15%, with completion due in August 2020.

Commenting on the contract, KBR’s president for hydrocarbons – energy services, Jay Ibrahim, said the company would work to deliver the Satorp project within schedule and with “zero harm to our people and the environment”.

Ibrahim continued: “This award signifies Satorp’s trust in KBR to deliver this schedule critical project to support the upcoming major refinery turnaround in 2020.

“We have been impressed with Wison’s experience in executing similar sized debottlenecking projects in KSA, which have all been completed ahead of schedule but more importantly safely, with zero lost-time incidents.”

Satorp is an energy heavyweight in Saudi Arabia that frequently works with engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractors such as KBR. In August 2018, Jacobs Zate, a subsidiary of America’s Jacobs Engineering, was awarded Satorp’s two-year contract renewal for a petrochemical plant in Jubail Industrial City 2.

Saudi Aramco and Total are also known to collaborate on other equally significant schemes within the kingdom. Their business relationship was recently underscored by their memorandum of understanding with South Korean contractor Daelim for Saudi Arabia’s first polyisobutylene plant, which was also be located within Jubail.

KBR remains a popular EPC contractor in the Gulf, and in October 2018 was reported to have been one of the players “interested” in the UAE’s Belbazem offshore project in Abu Dhabi. Alongside the UK’s Wood, KBR is already delivering front-end engineering work for Saudi Aramco and Sabic’s crude oil-to-chemicals (COTC) plant in Yanbu.

China’s Wison is also a recognisable name in the local EPC sector – in September 2018, Wison was awarded an $80m (AED293.8m) deal to work on an Abu Dhabi project for Takreer. Wison followed this up in October with a $150m (SAR562.7m) EPC contract for Sabic’s Technology Centre expansion plan in Jubail.

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