International engineering firms have submitted bids for an estimated $300m deal to revamp existing production facilities at the 4-billion-barrel Zubair oil field in southern Iraq.

Bids were submitted on 7 September, after the operator of the field, Italy’s Eni extended the deadline by more than a month to 31 August from the original deadline of 22 July, according to sources close to the scheme.

Bidders include three Italian firms; Bonatti, Techint and Tecnimont; Punj Lloyd of India and Dubai-based Dodsal.

The field is being developed by a consortium of Eni, the US’ Occidental Petroleum, South Korea’s Korea Gas Corporation and state-owned Missan Oil Company.

Eni issued two tenders covering construction of early production facilities and the refurbishment of the field’s existing facilities. The field’s development plan includes the construction of five new degassing stations and revamping existing ones to cope with the increase in production. This is in addition to overhauling existing wells and repairing pipelines and production facilities. Some of the facilities at the field were first installed in the 1950s, when production first began.

Eni also plans to drill 42 new wells in 2011 and another 26 in 2012 as it seeks to increase output to 700,000 barrels a day (b/d) by 2013, from 270,000 b/d currently.

Production increased to more than 200,000 b/d in December from about 183,000 b/d. This enabled the group to begin recovering its capital and development costs from Iraq, earning $2 a barrel on the incremental oil production (MEED 24:7:11).