The partners behind the giant $10bn Shah sour gas development in Abu Dhabi have asked international engineering firms for more time to make a decision over who will manage the construction of the scheme.

Three US companies are in the running for two project management consultancy deals to oversee construction on the project, which is being jointly developed by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) and the US’ ConocoPhillips. Fluor, Bechtel, and Veco all submitted their final cost proposals for the contract on 12 January. They had originally expected the contracts to be awarded in February.

However, Abu Dhabi Gas Industries (Gasco), the Adnoc subsidiary tendering the contracts, approached them in late January to extend the validity of their bids until the end of March. The company approached them again in March and asked them to agree to push the legal deadline for their bids back to April, sources close to the deal now tell MEED.

The project has already suffered delays in the past. In early January this year, ConocoPhillips and Adnoc delayed the deadlines for construction deals on the scheme until late March, as they reviewed the overall design of the project (MEED 12:1:10).

The companies want to produce 1 billion cubic feet a day of sour gas at the Shah field, before separating the sulphur from the natural gas and transporting both to Habshan and Ruwais.

They originally planned to use a pipeline to transport the sulphur, but the local Union Railway Company was asked in October to look at the feasibility of building a 264 kilometres railway line instead, which would be used to transport granulated sulphur.

Firms submitted commercial bids for a major $1bn products pipeline deal on 16 March and contractors are confident that bids for the main process units on the scheme will go in on 21 March (MEED 16:3:10).