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Five fight for Rembrandt-Vermeer FEED

Aker, CB&I, Genesis, IV Oil & Gas and Ramboll in frame for Wintershall oil project award this month

Germany's Wintershall is set to award an important front-end engineering and design contract this month covering its Rembrandt-Vermeer oil project off the Netherlands, whose centrepiece platform incorporates a novel steel gravity-base structure.

Industry sources said that five players are chasing the work — Norway's Aker Solutions, CB&I of the US, TechnipFMC-owned Genesis Oil & Gas, IV Oil & Gas in the Netherlands and Danish engineering house Ramboll.

It is unclear if there is a front-running bidder, although one source said there is "optimism" about Aker's chances.

On offer is a six-month FEED contract that is due for completion at the end of this year. The results of this FEED study will form the basis for bid documents set to be issued early next year.

This will likely cover one or more engineering, procurement and construction contracts not only for the GBS platform on Rembrandt, but also an associated riser platform and a wellhead platform on the smaller Vermeer oilfield.

Yards keen on securing the GBS platform work, in particular, would include Heerema Fabrication Group and Hyundai Heavy Industries, both of which have experience with De Ruyter and Hanze, two previous steel GBS platforms off the Netherlands.

Other contenders may include McDermott in Dubai, plus Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering and perhaps yards in Singapore. 

If all goes to plan, the field could be brought on stream in 2021.

In December, Upstream reported that Doris Engineering had completed pre-FEED work on the steel sub-structure and the Paris-based company had started evaluating responses to a market survey from fabrication yards keen to build the 9000-tonne GBS as well as other platform facilities.

The GBS will support a deck that is expected to tip the scales at about 6000 tonnes.

Xodus has been carrying out early engineering work on the GBS deck as well as the wellhead platform for the Vermeer field.

Adjacent to the GBS, Wintershall is also considering installing a riser platform that could weigh about 1000 tonnes, although its exact weight is unclear.

It is understood that the winning FEED contractor will have to work on the GBS with one of Wintershall's two nominated engineering contractors — Doris or UK engineering house Atkins — the latter currently being acquired by SNC-Lavalin.

Wintershall has commented very little about its development plan for Rembrandt, saying previously that “it will be a suitable southern North Sea shallow-water installation”. A spokesperson for the German operator told Upstream late last month: “We plan to hand out the FEED contract in the first half of 2017. FEED will start for the Rembrandt project after we have decided on a contractor”.

The spokesperson added that Wintershall is still formally screening the field's development concept and that a final investment decision is planned for “late 2018 or in early 2019”.

This would tie in with completion of next year's planned bid process for the main platform.

Previously called F17a and renamed after the 17th century Dutch artist, Rembrandt was discovered by exploration well F17-10 in 2012. The oil discovery was further appraised by appraisal wells F17-11 in 2014 and F17-13 in 2015.

Rembrandt is a Late Cretaceous chalk reservoir with preliminary resource estimates indicating that it could hold at least 30 million barrels of recoverable oil with potential upside.

The Kassel-based company, a subsidiary of BASF, holds a 30% operating stake in Rembrandt and paved the way for its development after securing a production licence from the Ministry of Economic Affairs on 28 June last year.

Netherlands' state-owned EBN has a 40% interest in Rembrandt, with France’s Engie on 20%, while 5% stakes are held by both Rosewood Exploration — a privately-owned, Texas-based player — and Abu Dhabi-based Taqa.