At least six contractors have submitted engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) bids for the second phase of a gas processing project in Oman, according to sources close to the bidding process.

Project owner, Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), plans to develop phase two of the depletion compression scheme at its Saih Rawl field in the north of the sultanate.

Companies bidding for the project’s EPC contract include Athens-based Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC), South Korea’s GS Engineering & Construction, Indian group Larsen & Toubro, Abu Dhabi-based National Petroleum Construction Company (NPCC), Spain’s Tecnicas Reunidas and French contractor Technip.

The contract is expected to be awarded by 1 September after PDO has assessed the contractor’s proposals, with the work expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2015. The project was tendered in January 2012, with 10 companies prequalified to bid for the EPC contract.

The project covers the debottlenecking of existing facilities and the construction of four compression trains with a total capacity of 30 million cubic metres of gas a day. Contractors estimate the budget to be more than $450m.

Increasing the Saih Rawl field’s completion depression capacity will be necessary to maintain pressure to sustain the field’s production in the coming years.

Saih Rawl, the largest gas field in Oman, represents the backbone of the country’s gas supply infrastructure and is primarily used to feed the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry. It also supplies power stations, desalinisation units, Oman India Fertilizer Company, industries in Sur and the South Oman Gas Line via the Interconnector pipeline.

In addition, Saih Rawl is the backup for the local industry supply when other gas plants are down for maintenance or operational reasons.

In April, PDO inaugurated the first phase of the depletion compression project, which has the capacity to handle 48 million cubic metres a day. The project included a 120MW power station.

PDO is 60 per cent owned by the government of Oman, with 34 per cent owned by UK/Dutch Shell Group, 4 per cent by French group Total and 2 per cent by Portugal’s Partex.