UAE-based National Petroleum Construction Company (NPCC) has emerged as the frontrunner to win a contract to install replacement oil lines at Abu Dhabi’s offshore Lower Zakum field.

NPCC submitted the lowest engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) bid to project owner Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company (Adma-Opco), according to sources close to the bidding process.

Adma-Opco also received bids from the US’ McDermott and Italy’s Saipem for the brownfield scheme, which it decided to fast-track due to the critical need for the pipeline replacements.

The EPC contract is expected to be officially awarded in the next two months, with completion targeted for the end of 2016, according to a source from Adma-Opco.

The project’s front-end engineering and design (feed) was completed by French engineering company Technip, with the scope of the scheme adjusted several times during this phase.

The Lower Zakum field, which represents the majority of Adma-Opco’s crude production, is located 63 kilometres (km) off the coast of Abu Dhabi and 81km from the Das Island oil and gas processing hub.

Adma-Opco is a joint venture of state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), the UK’s BP, France’s Total and Japanese Oil Development Company (Jodco).