Abu Dhabi’s Zakum Development Company (Zadco) has set a 24 January deadline for commercial proposals for the first of two major production facility projects at the offshore Upper Zakum reservoir.

At least four firms submitted technical proposals for the first engineering, procurement and construction package (EPC-1) in May for production facilities.

These include: Hyundai Heavy Industries of South Korea, UAE-based McDermott, Italy’s Saipem and France’s Technip with the local National Petroleum Construction Company (NPCC).

This leaves just over two months for Zadco to assess the bids, if it still hopes to award the deal in March and avoid further delays to the scheme, initially due for award before the end of 2011.

Zadco has also released a tender for the second set of production facilities (EPC-2), which includes some of the scope originally included in EPC-1, says a source close to the project.

EPC firms are expected to submit technical proposals in March.

The delays to the scheme have been caused in part by slow progress on the construction of the four artificial islands that will house drilling platforms and production facilities. The main island is still not complete, but is expected to be handed over to Zadco by March or April (MEED 5:1:12).

Zadco is a joint venture of state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), US oil major ExxonMobil and Japan Oil Development Company.

Zadco is looking to boost output to 750,000 barrels a day (b/d) from the current 500,000 b/d by adding offshore production facilities. EPC-1 will increase output by 100,000 b/d, while EPC-2 will add another 150,000 b/d.