State-energy firm Qatar Petroleum (QP) has issued a tender for the construction of the offshore portion of the Barzan gas scheme, and is prequalifying companies for the onshore part of the project.

According to sources involved in the project, QP issued the tender on 1 April, setting a 15 July deadline for the submission of technical bids for the offshore engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract. Commercial bids will be submitted in September.

The company will hold a meeting with bidders on 3 May.

Sources close to the scheme say firms likely to submit bids for the offshore package, include the UAE’s National Petroleum Construction Company (NPCC), South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries, Jebel Ali-based J Ray McDermott, and Italy’s Saipem.

The onshore portion of the estimated $1.7bn deal is still in the pre-qualification phase and a contractor shortlist has not yet emerged. Contractors submitted pre-qualification documents to QP’s head office at the end of March.

QP invited at least 10 international contractors to express interest in the four EPC deals to build on the scheme in November last year (MEED 18:12:09).

Firms which expressed their interest included the US’ Foster Wheeler in a consortium with Spain’s Tecnicas Reunidas; South Korea’s Samsung Engineering with Japan’s Chiyoda Corporation; South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering & Construction with Japan’s Toyo Engineering Corporation; Japan’s Daelim Industrial Company; Japan’s JGC Corporation; Italy’s Saipem and France’s Technip.

The Barzan project is a joint venture between QP and the US oil major Exxon-Mobil Corporation. According to contractors, the sponsors plan to develop the gas structure in three phases. The first will involve the construction of two onshore gas processing trains by the end of 2013, with a combined capacity of 1.7 billion cubic feet a day (cf/d).

The second phase will add a further 2 billion cf/d and the third phase will provide another 2.5 billion cf/d, bringing the total to 6.2 billion cf/d of gas.

Chiyoda carried out the front-end engineering and design study on the Barzan gas structure in the first half of 2009.

The Barzan joint venture aims to meet the natural gas requirements of Qatar’s power and water generating companies as well as providing potential feedstock for downstream petrochemicals production.