UK oil major BP has begun the process of prequalifying international engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firms for a major deal to build a crude oil processing facility at the Rumaila oilfield in Iraq.

Firms have been given until the end of January to submit their prequalification document for the deal to build a central processing facility (CPF), according to sources close to the project, although there was no indication how many firms have been invited to participate.

At least five firms have been invited. A tender could be released as early as March, but no details on the size of the planned facility were revealed.

The tender will be the first major EPC deal launched by BP and its partners at the field, China National Petroleum Corporation and state-owned South Oil Company (SOC). So far, the group has only awarded a few deals, including three drilling contracts and an inspection and repair deal, since winning the contract to develop Iraq’s largest oilfield in 2009.

The field has produced 80 per cent of Iraq’s oil to date. Production capacity at the 17 million barrel Rumaila field stands at more than 1.3 million barrels a day (b/d), with plans to reach 2.85 million b/d by 2017. BP has been in talks with the Oil Ministry to revise the terms of its contract and to scale back the target to a plateau of just under 2 million b/d.

Three major CPF projects have been awarded in Iraq already. These include an estimated $1bn deal in March 2012 between Russia’s Lukoil, the developer of the West Qurna Phase-2 oilfield and South Korea’s Samsung Engineering. A second CPF deal worth close to $900m between Samsung and Gazprom, also of Russia also in the works. Gazprom had already awarded a CPF deal for the Badra oil field development to the UK’s Petrofac for $330m.

Major Rumaila oilfield contract awards
Company Scope Value ($m) Award date
Petrofac (UK), China Petroleum Engineering & Construction Corporation (CPECC) 3-year inspection, maintenance and repair 229 November 2012
WorleyParsons (Australia) Extension to engineering, procurement and management 90 October 2012
Cameron (US) Equipment for new and rehabilitated oil wells 100 June 2012
GE Oil & Gas (US) Supply a package of 10 high-pressure pumps, gas engines and additional equipment 40 September 2011
Petrofac and CPECC 1-year inspection, maintenance and repair 90 July 2011
WorleyParsons Conceptual design, front-end engineering and project management 100 February 2011
Turkish Petroleum International Company Drilling of 45 wells 318 April 2010
Schlumberger (US), Iraq Drilling Company Drilling of 21 wells 250 April 2010
Daqing Drilling Drilling of 21 wells 250 April 2010
Source: MEED