Saudi Aramco and France’s Total signed on Tuesday 13 agreements with contractors to build a $9.6 billion joint-venture refinery in the kingdom, state news agency SPA reported.

The two companies awarded the contracts for the 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) refinery last month. Spain’s Tecnicas Reunidas and France’s Technip won three of the biggest contracts offered.

The contract award was delayed by several months as Aramco and Total forced bidders to price in lower commodity and contracting prices in their bids. The final contracts awarded came in some $2.4 billion below the highest estimate for the refinery cost of $12 billion.

Aramco has since relaunched the bidding process for a second 400,000 bpd export refinery in a joint venture with ConocoPhillips. That process was halted last year due to uncertainty in global financial markets.

(Reuters)