At least 20 firms have submitted bids for an estimated $150m deal to build a 105-kilometre-long gas pipeline connecting the Zubair oil field to the Fao oil depot on Iraq’s Gulf coast.

State-owned regional upstream operator, South Oil Company (SOC) tendered the deal in April, giving bidders an initial deadline of 22 April for technical bids, although this was pushed back by a month to 22 May, according to sources close to the scheme.

The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) project consists of the design, supply and commissioning of a 18-inch carbon steel gas pipeline to carry up to 100 million cubic feet a day (cf/d) of gas from a depot at the Zubair field near Basra to the Fao depot 105km away. Construction is expected to take 10 months.

The scheme also includes the installation of pressure and temperature gauges, along with connecting works at the Zubair-1 and Fao depots and a 10-metre-wide service road, running along the pipeline route.

The 4-billion-barrel Zubair oil field in southern Iraq is being developed by Italy’s Eni, which leads a consortium of the US’ Occidental Petroleum, South Korea’s Korea Gas Corporation and the state-owned Missan Oil Company.

The consortium agreed to increase production by more than 1 million barrels a day (b/d) of oil in Iraq’s second oil and gas bid round in June 2009. Production from the Zubair field has increased to more than 200,000 b/d from about 183,000 b/d, which enables the group to begin recovering its capital and development costs from Iraq, earning $2 a barrel on the incremental oil production (MEED 8:12:10).