Abu Dhabi’s Zakum Development Company (Zadco) has tendered the front-end engineering design (feed) contract for the expansion of its oil processing facilities, according to industry sources.

The offshore operator plans to add two new processing trains to the existing four and an additional gas treatment plant (GTP) on Zirku Island, located 160 kilometres off the coast of Abu Dhabi.

The Zirku Facilities Capacity Enhancement Project is designed to increase capacity to produce UZ Blend crude to 1 million barrels a day (b/d) from an existing 580,000 b/d.

According to Zadco’s project schedule released in July, the company is aiming to start the feed phase during the second quarter of 2013. Earlier this year, the company asked interested contractors to submit an expression of interest in bidding for the feed contract, setting a deadline of 10 July.

Zadco is also expected to tender the project management consultancy (PMC) contract to cover the feed phase of the scheme.

The project will enable Zadco to process the additional crude produced from the Upper Zakum expansion, which will increase the offshore field’s capacity to 750,000 barrels a day (b/d) from the existing 500,000 b/d.

A conceptual study was completed by US engineering group Foster Wheeler during the third quarter of 2012.

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