Bahrain Petroleum Co (Bapco) will tender in 2016, the construction contract for the Bahrain section of a $350-million crude oil pipeline between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, according to an official close to the project.
"The construction tender for the Bahrain section will be released next year," said the official.
The new AB pipeline will replace the ageing AB-1 pipeline, opened in 1945, and which runs from Saudi Aramco's Abqaiq plant to Sitra Refinery in Bahrain.
The new 30-inch diameter 115-km pipeline, of which 42 km is subsea and 73 km on land, will raise the transport capacity from the current 230,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 350,000 bpd, with the flexibility to increase to 400,000 bpd.
The project is jointly managed by Bapco and Aramco. Worley Parsons completed the front-end engineering design in 2014.
Bapco said in a statement in January that the request for proposals for the first engineering, procurement and construction contracts for the pipeline were issued on January 5, 2015 with the award scheduled for the second quarter of 2015.
"The evaluation of the phase 1 construction contracts for the Saudi section is in an advanced stage and will be awarded soon," the official said without disclosing the number of bidders or a possible award date.
Bapco has also started the prequalification process for mechanical contracts for the onshore section of the pipeline in Bahrain. Local mechanical contractors are invited to submit applications by August 26, 2015, according to a tender board announcement.
The project is a key element of Bapco's plan to expand Sitra refinery's capacity to 5000,000 bpd at a cost of $6 billion, and is part of the country's development plans for the oil and gas sector.
The new pipeline is expected to open in the first quarter of 2018 and dismantling of the existing pipeline is expected to begin in the second half of 2018, according to reports.