UAE-based Emirates LNG is assessing engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) bids for its proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) regasification facility in Fujairah.

Companies are bidding to build a facility capable of importing 9 million tonnes a year (t/y) of LNG and distributing the fuel into the UAE gas network.

Sources close to the bidding process told MEED that three companies have submitted proposals for the EPC tender, including Italy’s Saipem and South Korea’s Samsung C&T.

The contract is expected to be awarded in the first quarter of 2015, according to a source from Emirates LNG.

Meanwhile, it has been revealed that Emirates LNG – a joint venture of two state-owned Abu Dhabi-based companies – plans to increase LNG import capacity by a further 6 million t/y for the project’s second phase.

“[The LNG terminal’s capacity] will be increased to 15 million t/y ultimately,” said Salem Khalil, technical advisor at the Fujairah government, speaking at the Energy Markets Forum in Fujairah on 23 September.

Plans to increase the capacity of the terminal over the long-term indicate that the UAE government will require more LNG imports to plug the deficit in gas demand over the next decade.

Emirates LNG initially proposed a floating facility for the first phase of the project, but this was scrapped in favour of a fully land-based terminal.

The floating facility project was tendered in early 2013 and bids were submitted in the summer of that year. Market sources told MEED in July 2013 that South Korea’s Samsung Engineering had emerged as the lowest bidder for the contract, ahead of bids by other international companies including Samsung C&T, Saipem and Italy’s Techint.

Samsung Engineering has declined to bid on the new tender for the land-based facility.

Once finished, the terminal will be the Middle East’s first land-based LNG regasification facility and the largest in the region.

The front-end engineering and design (feed) phase was carried out by France’s Technip with the project’s feasibility study completed by US-based Poten & Partners.

Emirates LNG’s main customers are expected to be the Fujairah 1 and 2 integrated water and power plants (IWPPs), which are majority owned by the Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (Adwea).

Once the 9 million t/y Fujairah terminal is completed, the UAE will have the capacity to import 12 million t/y, including LNG import facilities already installed in Jebel Ali, Dubai. The country’s capacity to export LNG is 8 million t/y.

The UAE, which uses natural gas as its main source of power generation, became a net gas importer in 2007. The government has pursued a mixed strategy to meet growing gas demand including the development of high-cost sour gas reserves, imports from Qatar via the Dolphin pipeline and, finally, the large-scale import of LNG.

Emirates LNG is a joint venture of state-owned Abu Dhabi groups Mubadala Petroleum and International Petroleum Investment Company (Ipic).