Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company (Adma-Opco) has postponed the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) tender for the Satah al-Razboot (Sarb) full field development as a result of delays in the tendering of the adjacent Upper Zakum development.

The company, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), was planning to issue an invitation to tender for Sarb in October, but will now delay this for about two months. “It was supposed to be in October, but I don’t think they will issue the tender before at least one of the two EPC [contracts in Upper Zakum are awarded]. I think it will be later on, probably in December,” says a source at a contractor.

Upper Zakum is being tendered by the Zakum Development Company (Zadco), but Adma-Opco is involved in the process, meaning its capacities are strained.

“It means a lot of work for them, [Upper Zakum is run by] Zadco, not Adma-Opco, but the development is together,” says the source.

The Sarb project scope includes offshore platforms and subsea pipelines, as well as supporting facilities on two artificial islands currently under construction. Additional processing, storage and export facilities are planned on nearby Zirku Island, where the oil from Sarb will be delivered through a pipeline.

Adma-Opco plans to increase its production by 300 million barrels a day (b/d) from the untapped Ghasha-Butini-West Mubarraz, Umm Lulu, Nasr and Sarb fields by 2014.

Zadco’s efforts to award the offshore EPC tender for the Upper Zakum development have been hampered by an ambitious schedule, which saw contractors submit technical bids well in advance of the front-end engineering and design (feed) work. With the feed still incomplete, bidders are unable to submit their commercial bids. Contractors believe a provisional deadline in mid-December will be extended. Bids for the onshore package, to be constructed on four artificial islands, will be submitted by mid-April.

Unlike the delays at Upper Zakum, the postponement of the Sarb tender has not caused any concern among prospective bidders. “It is good for us in this particular project, because we need more time to try to be more aggressive,” says the source.