Zakum Development Company (Zadco) has set a December deadline for firms bidding on the contract to manage the creation of four islands off the coast of Abu Dhabi.

The winner of the project management consultancy (PMC) deal will oversee the local National Marine Dredging Company (NMDC). This firm won the main $625m dredging contract on the scheme in early November (MEED 6:11:09).

Firms prequalified to bid on the deal are the US’ Aecom, Lebanon’s Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners), Denmark’s Cowi, the UK’s Halcrow, the US’ Hill International, and the US’ Jacobs Engineering. Zadco has asked the companies to submit their bids by 10 December, according to a source close the scheme.

The deal is part of a project being developed by the offshore oil and gas developer to increase oil production at the field to 750,000 barrels a day (b/d) from current levels of about 500,000 b/d, which will cost an estimated $15bn.

Zadco plans to use the islands as drilling platforms and to house supporting infrastructure for the development. It says this project will cost 20-30 per cent less than using conventional offshore platforms.

The islands will be built at depths ranging from 6 metres to 14 metres, and will cover an area of 2.6km by 2km.