Petrel was low bidder with a final offer considerably lower than the company’s original quote of about $350 million, and well below other final prices received, which were understood to have been in the region of $250 million. The other four bidders were: a team of the UAE’s Dome International, with WorleyParsonsof Australia; UAE-based Petrofac International, with the local Uruk; Poland’s Prochem; and Canada’s Ivanhoe Energy.

The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract aims to raise crude production capacity at the field to 200,000 barrels a day (b/d) from 50,000 b/d and to produce 100 million cubic feet a day of gas.

The award was held up after concerns were voiced in the Oil Ministry that major field development projects were being awarded to firms without sufficient experience to carry them out successfully.