The winning bidder will ensure that Qatargas can maintain output of 10 million tonnes a year at its Qatargas I liquefied natural gas project at Ras Laffan until 2030.

The four groups that submitted technical bids on 30 September were: France’s Technip with Japan’s Chiyoda Corporation; Japan’s JGC Corporation with South Korea’s GS Engineering & Construction; Italy’s Saipem; and Japan’s Toyo Engineering Corporation in a consortium with South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering & Construction.

The Technip/Chiyoda team carried out the front-end engineering and design (Feed) contract for the project.

An executive from one of the bidding companies says all four groups plan to submit commercial bids by the 25 October deadline. Qatargas is expected to award the contract by December.

The engineering, procurement and construction deal runs for three years and four months and requires the winning group to build a sulphur-recovery unit and carry out offshore drilling and modification works.

Qatar Petroleum owns 65 per cent of Qatargas I and international companies the remainder.