International consultants expect further delays to the $10bn Shah gas development scheme in Abu Dhabi, as they are asked to extend their bid validity for the project management consultancy (PMC) deals until the end of April.

Three US companies are in the running for two PMC deals to oversee construction on the project, which is being jointly developed by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) and the US’ ConocoPhillips.  Fluor Corporation, Veco and Bechtel Corporation, all submitted final bid proposals on 12 January.

The latest development is not the first delay to the deal. The firms had originally expected the contracts to be awarded in February. However, Abu Dhabi Gas Industries (Gasco), the Adnoc subsidiary, which tendered the contracts approached the firms several times to extend the validity of their bids.

The first delay took the bid validity to the end of March and the second to April. Sources close to the deal now say the consultants have been asked to push the legal deadline for their bids until the end of April. Contractors suspect further delays may be on the cards.

This follows delays in January when ConocoPhillips and Adnoc reviewed the overall design of the Shah gas project (MEED 12:1:10).

Abu Dhabi wants 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.