Abu Dhabi’s Zakum Development Company (Zadco) is yet to decide on a new deadline for commercial proposals for the first of two major offshore production facilities at the Upper Zakum reservoir. 

Zadco now hopes to award the deal in March, according to a source close to the project, but will have to ask for proposals by the end of January for this to be achievable. Without a firm deadline, the deal will face repeated delays.

At least four firms submitted technical proposals for the first engineering, procurement and construction package (EPC-1) in May for production facilities, with a contract award originally expected to be awarded by the end of 2011.

These include: Hyundai Heavy Industries of South Korea, UAE-based J Ray McDermott, Italy’s Saipem and France’s Technip with the local National Petroleum Construction Company (NPCC).

The deadline has now been shifted back at least twice from the original closing date set in August and then in September.

At the same time, EPC firms are busy preparing technical proposals for the second set of production facilities (EPC-2), which are expected before the end of January.

One of the problems facing contractors waiting to bid on EPC-1 has been delays on the front-end engineering and design (feed) and to the construction of the four artificial islands that will house drilling platforms and production facilities. Sources close to the project told MEED in mid-December the main island was not complete and has not been handed over to Zadco (MEED 9:12:11).

Zadco is a joint venture of state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), US oil major ExxonMobil and Japan Oil Development Company.