State-run oil company Qatar Petroleum (QP) has cancelled a tender for the estimated QR1.5bn ($411m) contract to build an office complex at Ras Laffan.

According to sources close to the project, the tender has been cancelled for budgetary reasons. Letters confirming the decision have been sent to the companies that submitted technical proposals in January.

The bidders included Athens-based Consolidated Contractors Company, Lebanon’s Man Enterprises, the local Midmac General Contracting; and Austria’s Strabag (MEED 27:1:10).

QP planned to use the three office buildings as the centre for its operations at Ras Laffan, where most of Qatar’s oil and gas projects are based. It is not clear if QP will issue fresh tenders for the project in the future.

It is not the first time QP has cancelled the tender. In late 2008, it tendered the project but later decided to retender it to try and take advantage of lower labour and materials prices.

Separately QP is tendering construction packages on a much larger headquarters complex at Lusail, close to Doha.

The closing date for bids on the car park construction contract for this latter project is 14 February. The closing date for the larger of the two contracts to build the office building structures has been delayed to 28 February.

The project consists of four office towers of nine to 15 floors, linked by a ground level concourse.

Once completed, about 3,000 staff are expected to be based at the complex, north of the capital.