France’s Technip and Japan’s Chiyoda have secured an estimated $1.2bn contract to maintain production levels at the first phase of the Qatar Liquefied Gas Company (Qatargas) development at Ras Laffan.

The joint venture partners behind the scheme awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) deal, known as the Plateau Maintenance Project, on 26 February, Technip said in statement on the same day.

The project aims to ensure that the partners continue to deliver 10 million tonnes a year of liquefied natural gas until 2030 from the three onshore LNG trains that make up the first phase of the Qatargas development, Qatargas 1.

The maintenance project involves the drilling of four new offshore wells, the construction of a sulphur recovery unit, and upgrading onshore facilities to process the extra gas. The contract is expected to last three years and four months.

Bids for the EPC contract were submitted on 25 October 2009. The Technip-Chiyoda consortium also carried out the front-end engineering and design contract for the project in early 2009.

Qatargas 1 is a joint venture of state-owned Qatar Petroleum (QP), France’s Total, the US’ ExxonMobil, Japan’s Mitsui and Marubeni. There are four Qatargas liquefied natural gas schemes, each with a different mix of shareholders with QP acting as the common thread.