The project entails the conversion of an aquifer in Yort-e Shah, 70 kilometres southwest of Tehran, into a gas storage facility. The site’s capacity is about 500 million cubic metres. Sofregaz will carry out exploration work and basic design of the surface facilities, storage reservoir development and detailed surface design, as well as construction supervision of the surface facilities.

Three other companies, including Germany’s KBB, bid for the contract last year.

The aquifer project is part of a wider scheme at the Oil Ministry to set up large underground gas storage facilities throughout the north of the country to avoid supply shortages in Tehran and Qom during the winter.

Sofregaz has been awarded two contracts in Iran in the last three years. In June 1999, NIOC selected it to carry out the conversion of the condensate gas field of Sarajeh, near Qom, into an underground storage zone. Six months later, the French firm won a contract to design and build two compressor stations to increase the transmission capacity on the second gas trunkline (IGAT 2 – MEED 10:12:99).

Sofregaz is also bidding for the contract to build eight compressor stations for IGAT 4. The bid deadline is 25 April. Other bidders are expected to include South Korea’s Daelim Engineers & Construction Company, Italy’s Snamprogettiand the local Oil Industries Engineering & Construction, which has won the estimated $106 million contract to build six compressor stations for IGAT 3 (MEED 1:3:02).

France’s Alstomwill supply the 25-MW industrial gas turbines for the compressor units on both IGAT 3 and IGAT 4 (MEED 22:2:02).