The contract for the front-end engineering and design (FEED) for the South Oil Company (SOC) Common Seawater Supply Project (CSSP) will be awarded in the second quarter of 2013, clearing the way for the most important water flood oil industry project in the Middle East, the MEED Iraq Energy Projects Conference 2013 was told on 25 March.

Phase 1 of the CSSP entails producing 5.2 million barrels a day (b/d) of water to be used in key oil fields in the south of Iraq: Zubair, Rumaila, West Qurna 1 and West Qurna 2 and Majnoon. Phase 2 will provide water to the Gharraf, Halfaya and Missan fields. It is forecast that demand for water from oil fields in southern Iraq could rise to 12.5 million b/d.

“The CSSP kicked off in January and is now moving into pre-FEED site surveys,” said CH2M Hill project director James Prette. “The high-priority surveys are to be awarded in next quarter. We shall also award the FEED contract in second quarter.”

He said that the plan calls for the facilities and the associated pipelines to start operating in the third quarter of 2017.

Prette said that the procurement plan calls for two EPC contracts to be awarded. One is for the seawater processing facilities on Khor al-Zubair south of Al-Zubair. The second is for the pipelines that will connect the processing unit with the fields.

CH2M Hill took over as adviser to the SOC after ExxonMobil withdrew from the project.

Experts say that sustainably increasing water supplies for the southern oil fields are critical. “The real problem is that water supply will lag demand for water in the southern Iraq oil industry for the foreseeable future,” Neftex chairman Dr Peter Wells said.