US-based J Ray McDermott announced on 20 December that its subsidiaries, Jebel Ali-based J R McDermott Middle East and McDermott Arabia Company, have been awarded the fabrication and installation contract for 16 new jackets on the offshore potential maintenance project covering the Berri, Maharah, Marjan, Safaniya and Zuluf fields. The contract was placed by Saudi Aramco and is part of its plans to invest an estimated $1,000 million in the coming months in major new offshore projects, aimed at increasing production capacity by at least 150,000 barrels a day (b/d) to 450,000 b/d.
Under the contract, worth at least $250 million, McDermott will carry out engineering, partial procurement and construction of the jackets and drillheads at its Jebel Ali manufacturing facility. Eleven jackets, each with four 42-inch-diameter piles, are due to be installed in October and the remaining five topsides are targeted to be installed in July 2007. The current order is an extension of the estimated $200 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract awarded to McDermott in August, covering the fabrication and installation of jackets, five decks and in-field pipelines. The front-end engineering and design (FEED) package has been carried out by Australia's WorleyParsons (MEED 6:8:05). More offshore work is planned. Bids are due to be submitted by the extended deadline of 24 December for the EPC contract covering design, fabrication and installation of two drilling support structures in Zuluf, four production deck modules in Safaniya and Zuluf and a new tie-in jacket. About six groups of companies are preparing to submit technical and commercial bids for the estimated $300 million-350 million contract (MEED 14:10:05). Along with the installation of new facilities, Aramco is also stepping up drilling offshore. In August, the US' Rowan Companies was awarded a three-year drilling contract. Five jack-up rigs are due to start drilling from early 2006 (MEED 12:8:05).