The firm has invited international contractors to submit prequalification applications by 26 August for the first-phase of the multi-billion-dollar project, with a view to issuing tender documents for the engineering, procurement and construction element by the end of this year or early 2009.

The first phase covers two main packages: Bab-Thamama G/Habshan II; and the Qusahwira field development. The total value of both contracts is expected to be about $3bn.

The multi-phase programme will involve the drilling of production wells, the construction of gas-oil separation plants and interfield pipeline networks in the five fields. When completed, it will boost production from the five fields to 1.8 million b/d.

The US’ Washington Group International is the front-end engineering and design consultant (MEED 22:5:08).