The bidders are Anadarko Petroleum Corporation and Occidental Petroleum Corporation, both of the US, the Royal Dutch/Shell Group, Norway’s Statoil, Italy’s Eni, France’s TotalFinaElf, Spain’s Cepsa, the UK’s BP, the Anglo/Australian BHP Billitonand a consortium of US and French companies including ConocoPhillipsand Gaz de France.

The project entails the development of an integrated liquefied natural gas (LNG) system using gas sourced from the six Gassi Touil fields, which contain total reserves of about 9 trillion cubic feet. The contract calls for the appraisal and development of the three undeveloped southern fields, and the construction of infrastructure to transport gas from these and the already developed northern fields to a liquefaction plant on the coast, which will be also be constructed as part of the project. The three northern fields – Nezla South, Hassi Touareg and Toual – have production capacity of 12 million cubic metres a day.