Iraq has awarded a design contract for pipelines on the Common Seawater Supply Project (CSSP), a critical infrastructure development in Iraq’s oil expansion strategy.

Austria-based ILF Consulting Engineers was awarded the front-end engineering and design (feed) contract by Iraq’s South Oil Company (SOC) to build two 150-kilometre pipelines in the southern province of Basra.

The CSSP will supply the oil fields in southern Iraq with seawater to inject into the deposits to increase overall oil recovery.  The two pipelines will have a capacity of 12.5 million barrels a day (b/d) of water in the in the final stage, or 24 cubic metres a second.

MEED reported in March 2014 that SOC received two feed bids for the CSSP project, from ILF and US-based Parsons International.

It is unclear whether SOC has awarded a contract for the design of the main seawater treatment plant.

The estimated $10bn CSSP project covers the construction of a giant seawater treatment plant and pipelines to carry the water to some of Iraq’s biggest oil fields in the south of the country. It is critical to Baghdad’s hopes of expanding its crude production capacity.

The CSSP scheme has suffered several setbacks since it was first conceived. Originally led by US oil major ExxonMobil, the project is now being managed by US engineering consultant CH2M Hill, which was appointed in a $170m deal in late 2012. The official timeline for completion in 2017 no looks to be out of the question. With the project now in the feed stage it is likely to be completed by 2019 at the earliest.

Construction is planned over two phases. Phase one will provide 6.7 million b/d of water for the five fields of Zubair, Rumaila, West Qurna-1, West Qurna-2 and Majnoon.

Further phases will increase supplies to these fields, as well as to the Gharraf, Halfaya and Missan oil fields. Depending on Iraq’s targeted crude production levels, the total demand for water could reach 12.5 million b/d.