Malaysia’s national oil company Petronas is evaluating bids for the front-end engineering and design prize for what could be the operator’s third floating liquefied natural gas vessel after the extended submission deadline closed on 31 August.

Contractors understood to be definitely in the fray are Japan’s JGC, Italy’s Saipem and Technip Energies of France, according to industry sources.

Worley of Australia, US contractor KBR and Wood of the UK had also earlier been put in the frame as FEED contenders, but it could not be confirmed if they ultimately submitted bids.

The contractors have been busy aligning themselves with yards in anticipation that the successful FEED contractor will see its work scope bolstered by the roll-on engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning contract.

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Sources said that JGC had teamed up with Samsung Heavy Industries, while Technip Energies has partnered with Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering.

The two South Korean contractors Daewoo and Samsung have an FLNG track record with Petronas, having respectively fabricated the newbuild units PLFNG Dua and PFLNG Satu.

Meanwhile, Saipem has aligned itself with China’s Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding.

Upstream understands that Hyundai Heavy Industries was approached by some FEED bidders but decided not to participate in this FLNG project tender.

The entire project workscope is expected to include an onshore substation, a new jetty head and trestle at the jetty of Petronas’ Chemicals Fertiliser facility, offshore and onshore pipelines and the FLNG itself, which sources said would have nameplate capacity of between 2 million and 3 million tonnes per annum.

Although it is still early days, Technip Energies and JGC are being touted as potential winners given their FLNG pedigrees as lead engineering partners respectively on Petronas’ first and second FLNG units.

These 1.2 million tpa and 1.6 million tpa units — both currently deployed offshore Sabah — are designed for true offshore operations, while the new FLNG vessel will be a barge-based floating liquefaction facility moored to a jetty.

Petronas is expected to take the final investment decision on what will effectively be PFLNG Tiga (Three) in the second half of 2022.

Known in-house as the ZLNG project, the new FLNG vessel would be deployed at a nearshore location offshore Sabah, East Malaysia.

Petronas currently operates two FLNG units, PFLNG Satu (One) and PFLNG Dua (Two) that are respectively deployed on its Kebabangan field and the PTTEP-operated Rokan field, both also offshore Sabah.