The Western Desert project will draw gas from the offshore Bouri field and the Wafa field in the south of the country for treatment in a plant in Melitah, 80 kilometres west of Tripoli. The treated gas will be transported to Italy for use in the national gas network.

Saipem, the Eni company that has already won the main offshore package on the project, was awarded a further two contracts. In the first, valued at Eur 285 million ($288 million), the company will install the sub-sea pipeline to transport the treated gas to Italy. The link will stretch 540 kilometres under the Mediterranean, reaching a water depth of 1,160 metres, before making landfall at Gela in Sicily. Saipem will start laying the so-called Green Stream pipeline in the second half of 2003 and is scheduled to complete the project in June 2004.

With the Green Stream pipeline completed, Saipem will begin work on its second contract – installation of the sealines and gathering system in the offshore block. The Eur 400 million ($404 million) contract involves the project management, engineering, procurement, fabrication, transport and installation of two pipelines linking the Sabratha offshore platform, 100 kilometres north of Tripoli, to Melitah. The Italian firm will also be responsible for the fabrication and installation of auxiliary facilities.

In June, Saipem was awarded the Eur 620 million ($626 million) lump-sum turnkey contract for the Sabratha platform with Hyundai Heavy Industries Company of South Korea. Saipem has a Eur 420 million ($424 million) share in the contract (MEED 28:6:02).

The Eur 700 million ($707 million) gas treatment plant at Melitah has been awarded to an international consortium led by Snamprogetti, Eni’s engineering and main contracting company. Its partners for the turnkey contract are the Hague-based ABB Lummus and Hyundai Engineering & Construction Company of South Korea. The plant will have capacity of 6,660 million cubic metres a year and is expected to take 29 months to complete. The consortium will be responsible for the engineering, material supply and construction of the plant.