The partners behind the $10bn-plus Shah sour gas development in Abu Dhabi plan to open the commercial bids for four of the main construction deals by 25 March, sources close to the project tell MEED.

Contractors submitted bids for a $1bn pipelines construction deal on 16 March, while final proposals for three other $1bn-plus deals went in on 21 March. They cover a gas processing plant and a sulphur recovery unit at the Shah field, in the south of the emirate, and the supporting infrastructure for the entire project, known as the offsites and utilities.

Bids for another major construction deal, covering gas gathering facilities at the Shah field, are due for submission on 28 March.

Sources close to the project say that the partners behind the scheme, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and the US’ ConocoPhillips, want to open the bids they have already received to get an idea of the value of the project.

Contractors are hopeful of news on the low bidding firms by the end of March. Contract awards are expected in May.

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

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

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. A decision is due by the end of March.