The year has seen a rush of major awards on the estimated $4,500 million Western Desert project. In January the JTS consortium, comprising JGC Corporation, Tecnimont and its French subsidiary Sofregaz, was awarded the $1,000 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the Wafa gas field production and treatment package. In September another French firm, Bouygues Offshore, was appointed to carry out engineering, procurement, installation and construction (EPIC) work on a subsea production system (MEED 27:9:02; 8:2:02).

The ambitious plan to exploit Libya’s huge gas reserves for export was born in 1999 when state-owned National Oil Corporation (NOC)signed a deal with Agip Gas, a 50:50 venture between Italy’s Eniand NOC, to construct a gas pipeline between Libya and mainland Europe. On completion, due in 2004, 10,000 million cubic metres a year of natural gas will be delivered through a 32-inch-diamater underwater pipeline – the deepest of its kind in the world – via Sicily to Italy.