Three South Korean firms are bidding for an estimated $2.7bn-worth of engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts for new oil processing facilities at the Zubair field in the southeast of Iraq.

The developer of the field, Italian oil firm Eni, has now opened bids for the three packages, which cover the construction of five new greenfield degassing stations. The proposals were originally submitted in February by six companies and once again in May.

According to sources close to the project, the list has been trimmed to just three firms, Samsung Engineering, Daewoo Engineering & Construction and Hyundai Engineering & Construction, all from South Korea.

Of the three firms, Samsung Engineering is understood to be the frontrunner for the largest package, estimated to be worth as much as $1bn, for degassing stations in the north of the field.

Hyundai Engineering & Construction’s package in the central area of the field is slightly smaller, while Daewoo’s southern stations are considered to be worth about $700m.

Eni and its partners, the US’ Occidental Petroleum, South Korea’s Korea Gas Corporation and state-owned Missan Oil Company, reached an agreement with the Oil Ministry at the end of May to cut its final production target by almost a third, to 850,000 barrels a day (b/d) from 1.25 million b/d.