Saudi Aramco has received four bids on a project to expand the Hasbah gas field off Saudi Arabia’s Gulf coast and tendered five further offshore contracts, according to sources familiar with the project.

The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) bids were submitted on 29 November as part of the Long-Term Agreement (LTA) signed between Saudi Aramco and four groups earlier this year.

These companies are:

The contract, which is estimated to be worth over $1.5bn, is expected to be awarded early in the first quarter of 2015. Saudi Aramco will assess the companies’ technical proposals before opening the bid prices.

Hasbah was the first major project put out to bid since the LTA was awarded by Aramco, but in the last month the state-owned oil giant has asked the companies to bid on several new smaller contracts.

The four companies are now preparing proposals for five Contract Release Purchase Orders (CRPO), according to industry sources.

The Hasbah expansion and the CRPOs are part of the LTA, which gives the groups the exclusive opportunity to bid for projects supporting Aramco’s Maintain Potential Programme, gas programme and other offshore work in the Gulf.

The Hasbah project will expand the production capacity of the gas field by an additional 2 billion cubic feet a day (cf/d), which will be piped to the onshore Fadhili gas plant.

Aramco recently selected companies for three major contracts on Fadhili, with UK-based Petrofac recently confirming its contract on the scheme’s sulphur recovery plant