The work will involve the installation of 18 platforms in the Abu Safah area, shared with Bahrain, and will also include the installation of cabling and pipelines. The three bidders for the contract are Italy’s Saipem, the US’ J Ray McDermottand the UAE’s National Petroleum Construction Company.

Aramco is also looking at upgrading its offshore operations in the Neutral Zone. Its subsidiary, Aramco Gulf Operations Company, in partnership with Kuwait Gulf Oil Company, is to spend some $1,200 million on upgrading and expanding production capacity over the next four years. The zone now produces about 320,000 barrels a day (b/d) of oil.

The new work in the Abu Safah area is connected to the gas/oil separation plant (GOSP) now under construction, which is part of the Qatif project. A team of Italy’s Snamprogetti, part of the Enigroup, with Saipem is building the GOSP.