The client, Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Company (Gasco), is expected to confirm the award of the six-month contract by the end of November.

The bulk of the work will be carried out by Genesis Oil & Gas Consultants, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Paris-based firm.

A tender for the FEED contract is likely to follow by mid-2009.

Genesis has previously completed the conceptual study and masterplan for the project to increase capacity at the Sahil, Asab and Shah (Sas) fields, which are being developed by state-run Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (Adco).

The Hail field also falls within Adco’s concession. It launched the scheme by inviting contractors to submit expressions of interest for the marine works package (MEED 14:9:07). However, its development is now expected to fall under Gasco’s remit.

Production of up to 500 million cubic feet a day of sour gas has been conservatively forecast for the field as part of an expected initial investment outlay of $1bn.

The project involves the dredging of a 5-kilometre access channel and the reclamation of three artificial islands.

Over the past 12 months, Gasco has focused on a project on the onshore Shah field, separate to the Sas project. The US’ ConocoPhillips signed a long-awaited deal to develop the field’s sour gas reserves in early 2008 (MEED 10:1:08).