Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (Adco) has delayed contract awards for the third phase expansion of its North East Bab oil fields, pending the approval of the project by shareholders.

Contractors submitted bids for the front-end engineering design (feed) and project management consultancy (PMC) earlier this year, but are still waiting for the contract award to be announced.

“The recommendation has gone, but is still awaiting shareholders’ approval,” a source from one of the bidding companies said. The contracts were initially expected to be awarded during July.

The aim of the project is to increase crude production from the Al-Dabbi’ya field, which lies on a shallow coastal marine area, and the onshore Rumaitha and Shanayel fields. The third phase of North East Bab production is designed to increase production capacity at the Rumaitha and Shanayel fields to 39,000 barrels a day (b/d) and the Al-Dabbi’ya field to 73,000 b/d.

Companies including US contractors Mustang Engineering and Shaw Group have submitted bids for the project’s feed contract, while UK-based groups Amec and Mott MacDonald, US-Canadian Veco and Australia’s WorleyParsons, all submitted proposals for the feed phase’s PMC.

State-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company holds a 60 per cent stake in Adco. The other stake holders, the US-based ExxonMobil, UK/Dutch Shell Group, France’s Total, the UK’s BP and Portugal’s Partex Oil & Gas, hold the remaining 40 per cent.