US oil field services company Weatherford International is the frontrunner for an estimated $300m deal to build early production facilities at the Gharraf oilfield in southern Iraq.

The developers of the field, Malaysia’s Petronas and Japan’s Japex, received bids in late 2010 from four groups for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract:

  • Weatherford International (US)
  • Petrofac (UK) and JGC Corporation (Japan)
  • Saipem (Italy)
  • Punj Lloyd (India)

Weatherford has already won the engineering design deal for the production facilities and an 80-kilometre pipeline at the field, but other companies remain in the running for the EPC contract.

Petrofac and JGC have been asked to extend bid validity until at least the end of February, according to a source close to the scheme, while the developers wait for approval from the Oil Ministry (MEED 26:5:10).

The 1 billion-barrel Gharraf field, located in the Thi Qar governate in southern Iraq, was awarded to Petronas and Japex as part of Iraq’s second oil field licensing round in December 2009.

The consortium paid a signature bonus of $100m and will receive a remuneration fee of $1.49 for each additional barrel produced over 35,000 barrels a day (b/d). The companies plan to increase production to 50,000 b/d by 2012 and 230,000 b/d by 2023. 

Weatherford will soon begin drilling 11 wells at the Gharraf field for Petronas and JGC and has been working in Iraq since 2006, completing six contracts for the state-owned South Oil Company. It is one of four US-based oil field services companies – and one Iraqi firm, Oil Serv – that are currently permitted to bid for work in the country.