State-upstream operator Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) has awarded two contracts totalling $348m for the provision of electrical submersible pumping (ESP) systems at its oil fields.

The US’ Schlumberger won the larger of the two contracts, worth KD48.3m ($177.4m) for ESPs in an area known as Zone-A. The deal was signed on 1 August.

The second contract, signed on 4 August was awarded to Aberdeen-based Wood Group for KD46.7m for another area known as Zone-B.

KOC has previously used US oil field services firm, Baker Hughes for these services.

The two companies will supply, install, survey and maintain the ESP systems for a period of up to five years.  The systems are used to aid the flow of oil from the reservoir to the wellhead, particularly when natural pressure is insufficient to force the trapped oil to the surface. As the region’s oil fields age, their production rates naturally decline and artificial lift systems such as ESPs become more prevalent.