Saudi Aramco: 1Q 2011 Start to Karan Gas Output

Mar 12, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires)

Saudi Arabian Oil Co., the world's largest oil company by production, is accelerating the start up of its $10 billion offshore Karan gas field to the first quarter of 2011, according to documents seen by Dow Jones Newswires, as it awaits bids from international engineering firms this month.

Aramco has given companies until March 20 to submit bids for the contract to provide project management and front-end engineering design services for the company's first-ever offshore gas field scheme, according to the official documents.

Karan will produce much needed natural gas for the local market.

Fluor Corp. (FLR), Foster Wheeler Ltd. (FWLT), Technip S.A. (13170.FR) and WorleyParsons Ltd. (WOR.AU) are among the companies expected to bid for the contract, industry officials say.

The contract will be awarded in the second quarter, the Aramco documents show.

Due to Saudi Arabia's rapidly rising gas requirements, the Karan project is being "accelerated," targeting the first quarter of 2011 for start-up.

Demand for gas is soaring in oil-rich Saudi Arabia as the government pushes ahead with plans to promote domestic industries with high gas requirements such as petrochemicals and aluminum to diversify the local economy and create jobs for a fast-rising, young population.

The Karan field, located offshore northeast of the industrial city of Jubail in the Persian Gulf, is estimated to contain 9 trillion cubic feet of gas.

The project comprises the construction of three main facilities - a gas processing unit at the Khursaniyah gas plant, platforms and power generation units, and a subsea pipeline - according to the documents.

Under the project's schedule, Aramco plans to invite companies in early 2008 to bid for the main construction contract, with an award to be followed by mid-year. Construction is set to begin in the beginning of 2009, the documents show.

On project completion, Karan is set to produce as much as 1 billion cubic feet a day of gas.

Copyright (c) 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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