State-owned Saudi Aramco is assessing bids for a project to expand operations at the Safaniya offshore oil and gas field, according to sources familiar with the scheme.

International contractors submitted engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) bids in late July under the Long-Term Agreement (LTA) programme, which gives four companies exclusive rights to bid for a number of Aramco’s offshore tenders.

The bidders are:

Technical bids have been reviewed and Aramco has started the commercial evaluation, sources told MEED. Aramco is expected to select a company to carry out the estimated $1.6bn project by the end of the year.

The project is the fourth phase expansion of production facilities at the Safaniya field, which is located in the Gulf about 200 kilometres north of Aramco’s headquarters in Dhahran.

Safaniya is the world’s largest offshore oil field in terms of production with an estimated capacity of 1.2 million barrels a day.

Aramco entered the LTA with international companies in 2015 and has since awarded several contracts. The largest deal of this year was awarded to Larsen & Toubro on the expansion of the Hasbah gas field.