Only two contractors remain in the running for an estimated $1bn deal to upgrade state-run Qatar Petroleum’s (QP) gas processing facilities at Dukhan and Mesaieed.

They are the UK’s Petrofac and a group of Athens-based Consolidated Contractors Company with the US’ Black & Veatch, according to sources close to the project. The firms submitted the latest set of prices for the project in mid-March in the third round of commercial bids for the project. An award is expected in early April.

Qatar Gas Spending

Commercial bids for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract, known as the gas-sweetening facility project were first submitted to QP on 22 November 2009 (MEED 23:11:09). However, QP asked for a fresh set of prices in 2010 as it moved to push down the cost of the project.

France’s Technip initially emerged as the frontrunner to win the contract following the submission of a set of amended prices on 14 February. This came after technical discussions with QP, during which the state-energy producer introduced a number of cost savings into the project. But the French engineering firm and Italy’s Saipem, which also bid on the deal, have not been included in the latest round of negotiations.

QP is now trying to to iron out any discrepancies between the bidders’ proposals.

“QP asked for re-submissions to bring all the contractors to the same level,” says the source. Contractors expect the contract to be awarded by April.

The scheme includes the construction of a 750 million-cubic-feet-day (cf/d) acid-gas removal unit and amine-sweetening plant at Mesaieed.

A second acid-gas removal unit will be built unit at the onshore Dukhan field, with the capacity to process 450 million cf/d of gas from the Khuff reservoir, which is part of the field.