Algiers exports almost 20 million tonnes a year (t/y) of LNG, primarily to Europe. The new Arzew facility will increase that by an additional 4 million t/y.

Four groups submitted tech-nical bids on 18 May for the estimated $3bn lump-sum engineering, procurement and con-struc-tion contract to build the new train, which will use technology from the US’ Air Products & Chemicals. The client is state energy company Sonatrach.

The bidders are Italy’s Snamprogetti with Japan’s Chiyoda Corporation, Paris-based Technip, the US’ KBR, and UAE-based Petrofac International with Inti Karya Persada Tehnik of Indonesia.

Commercial bids are due to be submitted on 21 July, although sources close to the scheme say the deadline is likely to be extended until late summer.

An award is likely to be made soon after. The facility should come on stream by 2012.

The Arzew scheme originally formed the downstream portion of the multi-billion-dollar Gassi Touil project.

However, the acrimonious departure of two Spanish firms, Repsol and Gas Natural, from the project in 2007 means it is now being developed independently.

The upstream element, comprising a new gas processing plant, is also being developed independently by Sonatrach.