State oil company Saudi Aramco is evaluating the bids from engineering consultancies for the engineering services contract that focuses on offshore operations.

Firms submitted final commercial bids for the Maintain Potential Programme (MPP) in August after technical submissions were submitted in the second quarter. A decision is expected by the fourth quarter. Two companies are expected to be awarded five-year deals.

Australia’s WorleyParsons is the current holder of the MPP contract and has employed 350 dedicated staff on the scheme since 2003. It was awarded a two-year extension in 2013 that will expire in 2015.

The companies prequalified for the MPP include:

The MPP has traditionally been one of the largest engineering services contracts to be awarded in the kingdom and the potential new strategy indicates the new scope would be even more expansive and include several more companies.

Aramco has extensive offshore operations on its Gulf coast including Safaniya, the world’s largest offshore oil field, and several large non-associated gas fields. Many of the Gulf fields are mature and likely to require extensive rehabilitation over the next decade to maintain production. Hundreds of new wells need to be drilled every year to maintain operations in shallow-water fields.