Bids are due by the end of September, with an award to be made before the end of 2008.

Petropars has been looking for a foreign partner on the project for nearly two years, after it signed up as the main buy-back contractor in 2005. However, it is now thought to be going ahead without an international partner.

Most of the gas produced from South Pars phase 12 will be used to feed NIOC’s planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant. However, part of the output will also be pumped into the domestic gas network for use in petrochemicals projects and for reinjection to maintain pressure on oil fields (MEED 22:4:08).

Earlier this year Petropars awarded a $284m engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to the local Aras consortium for the project (MEED 14:4:08).

Two further EPC deals, to a local and foreign consortium respectively, are expected in the next few months.