DOHA - Saudi Aramco and U.S. ConocoPhillips said on Tuesday they would relaunch bidding for the 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) Yanbu refinery.

The two companies stopped the bidding process to build the refinery in November, due to uncertainties clouding financial markets and after a drop in input costs.

Cost estimates for Yanbu doubled last year to $12 billion from $6 billion when the project was announced in 2006.

The two firms were initially planning to start the refinery in 2011.

Market improvements have provided a good opportunity to reactivate the bidding process for the Yanbu export refinery project, said Khalid al-Buainain, senior vice president for refining and marketing at Saudi Aramco, in a joint statement.

The first contracts will be awarded in November and the rest in the second quarter of 2010, the statement said.

The refinery, which will process Arabian heavy crude is targeted to start up in the third quarter of 2014, the statement said.

Aramco and Conoco said they invited prequalified contractors to bid for early work and major packages.

They identified the major packages as being a coker unit, crude facility, gasoline unit, hydrocracker, tank farm, offsite pipelines, high voltage electrical packages, as well as other infrastructure packages. (Reporting by Reem Shamseddine and Simon Webb)