Spain’s Hera is the frontrunner to win three deals with state-upstream operator, Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) to perform soil remediation services in southeast Kuwait after submitting the lowest bids.

The deal was originally launched in February with KOC prequalifying 25 local and international engineering firms. After a series of delays to allow greater participation, bids from 12 firms were finally submitted on 7 August (MEED 27:7:11).

The environmental damage at the oilfields was caused by the Iraqi invasion in 1991. The south eastern fields have been divided into three groups known as A, B and C.

The Spanish firm submitted the lowest bids for all three lots, totalling KD41.1m ($151m). GS Engineering & Construction was the only South Korean firm to bid, submitting the second-lowest price for Lots B and C. India’s Teri was second-lowest for Lot A.

KOC is yet to tender a larger deal for the clean-up of thousands of oil lakes formed by the Iraqi invasion and subsequent retreat, which is expected to be launched in August.

About 2,400 oil lakes were formed over an area of almost 50 square kilometres as retreating Iraqi troops set fire to hundreds of oil wellheads. The oil lakes have formed a mixture of oil, sand and highly concentrated salts as a result of the use of seawater to extinguish the oil-well fires after the war.