BP has begun qualifying contractors for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) and wells contracts for its $15-20bn Khazzan tight gas project in Oman.

A source from the UK-based energy major said that the offsite packages will be split into at least eight packages going to the market in mid-2013.

BP is currently discussing its field development plan and commercial agreements with the Muscat government, and expects to come to a final investment decision on Khazzan during the summer of 2013.

“Engineering and construction contract awards for major scopes of work need to take place to allow for the final investment decision,” said the source. Among the packages to be bid for the project include: gas plant; flowlines; rigs; fracturing equipment; well-testing facilities; waste and water treatment facilities; roads; and airstrip.

BP has appointed WorleyParsons to work on a pre-front-end engineering and design (pre-feed) stage to ready the area for the construction phase.

The proposed plant is expected to produce about 1bn cubic feet a day (cf/d) of sales gas from 275 to 325 wells drilled in the field. The initial phase of development in Block 61 will target approximately 7 trillion cubic feet for recoverable resource. BP is in the process of finishing its appraisal programme on the field, with two more appraisal wells to drill over the next 6-9 months.

Khazzan is one of the world’s only purely greenfield tight gas projects. The reserves are trapped at 4.5-5 kilometres below the surface and, because the gas does not flow to the surface naturally, BP will have to hydraulically fracture the formations to release the gas.

Oman currently produces almost 3.5bn cf/d gas, some of which is exported as liquefied natural gas (LNG).

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