About 45 international companies were invited to prequalify for the five onshore EPC lump-sum packages. Several other onshore packages will be awarded on the project, of which two, covering the core elements, may be placed on an engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) basis.

The onshore portion centres on the construction of a GTL plant with two 70,000-barrel-a-day trains. The first train is due to come on stream in 2009 and the second is scheduled for completion two years later. JGC Corporationof Japan, with the US’ Halliburton KBRcarried out the front-end engineering and design (FEED) package.

Progress on the project’s offshore works is more advanced. Technical bids are due to be submitted in September for the wellhead platforms package. The prospective bidders include Jebel Ali-based J RayMcDermott (Middle East), Italy’s Saipem, Larsen & Toubro of India, US-based Mustang Engineering, South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and Abu Dhabi-based Gulf Piping Company. The EPC package will involve the installation of two wellhead jackets with processing topsides. A contract award is scheduled for February 2006.

Tenders were also due to be issued by mid-July for the second offshore package, covering pipelines from the platforms to the onshore gas processing plant. The pequalifiers include McDermott, Saipem and HHI.