Contractors expect further delays to a major award for the construction of early production facilities (EPF) at the West Qurna phase-2 oil field in the south of Iraq.

Technical and commercial proposals for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract were submitted at the end of March, with Samsung Engineering of South Korea emerging as the lowest priced bidder.

In August, the operator of the field, Russia’s Lukoil along with state-owned South Oil Company (SOC) asked Samsung to confirm the country of origin for procurement, according to a source close to the project.

A contract had been expected to be awarded in August. While Samsung remains the frontrunner, rival contractors now say they expect the deal to be delayed until the end of September at least.

Four other firms bid for the deal: Globalstroy Engineering of Russia; Italy’s Saipem; SNC Lavalin of Canada; and a consortium of India’s Punj Lloyd and Japan’s Toyo Engineering.

France’s Technip is conducting front-end engineering and construction (feed) work for the scheme.

The deal is one of four EPC tenders issued by Lukoil in September 2010 as part of its development of the 12.9 billion-barrel field. The tenders cover oil-gathering systems, processing facilities and a water supply system, along with an oil export pipeline, storage facilities, a power station and an associated gas processing plant (MEED 22:7:11).