The GCC oil and gas projects market has been as competitive as ever in the past year as contractors from Asia, Europe and the US have vied with local companies to win key engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts.  

While some of the top contractors are struggling to maintain the value of their project pipelines, others’ workloads have surged ahead of last year.

At the end of the second quarter of 2012, the top 10 oil and gas contractors in the GCC were undertaking about $72.7bn-worth of EPC work on oil, gas and petrochemicals schemes, according to regional projects tracker MEED Projects.

GCC top 10 oil and gas contractors

The biggest gainer has been UK-based Petrofac, which boosted its workload by 81 per cent to $10.5bn, up from $5.8bn in the second quarter of 2012 and $6.1bn a year earlier.

A run of awards over the past 12 months has moved the firm up to second place in the league of most active contractors, compared with its position a year ago – ranked eighth.

Petrofac has had a particularly successful year in the UAE, which has been rivaling Saudi Arabia in terms of project spending as it looks to expand crude production. Abu Dhabi awarded $8.2bn of oil and gas EPC deals in the first six months of 2013 and Petrofac was the biggest winner.

The company shared the $3.8bn second package of the Upper Zakum offshore field development with bidding partner South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), and independently won the third package on the Satah al-Razboot (Sarb) field. It also landed more than $600m in contracts on Abu Dhabi’s onshore Bab field.

South Korea’s Samsung Engineering retained the top spot in the GCC, with $11.7bn-worth of EPC contracts being worked on, but the company slipped 11 per cent from the second quarter of 2012. South Korea’s Daelim Industrial Company moved up one place to third despite an 8 per cent year-on-year drop in its workload.

The biggest falls in the top 10 terms of total contracts worked on were South Korea’s Hyundai E&C (62 per cent), Japan’s JGC Corporation (57 per cent) and Italy’s Saipem (39 per cent), which failed to replace completed projects with new contracts. Hyundai E&C and JGC both completed major packages on the Habshan complex of Abu Dhabi’s integrated gas development (IGD) in the past year. JGC was working on the complex’s $4.7bn processing plant, which was commissioned earlier this year.

Aside from Petrofac, the biggest gainer in the top ten was Spain’s Tecnicas Reunidas, which increased its workload by 25 per cent, driven by several petrochemicals deals in Saudi Arabia totalling about $3.8bn.