McDermott International has emerged as the front runner for a contract from Qatar’s North Oil Company (NOC) for the front-end engineering and design work on the next development phase of Al-Shaheen, an offshore oilfield.

Two people familiar with the development told Upstream that McDermott is “well-positioned” for the coveted FEED job.

NOC — a partnership between state-controlled QatarEnergy and France’s TotalEnergies — is executing the Gallaf project, which aims to sustain the production plateau at the Al-Shaheen oilfield.

The Houston-based contractor is understood to be the preferred contractor for the FEED contract, having already been chosen by NOC last year to carry out a pre-FEED study on the expansion project, Upstream understands.

McDermott declined to comment on an Upstream query on the Gallaf FEED tender.

"As a company policy, we do not comment on market rumours," a company spokesperson told Upstream.

QatarEnergy has not yet responded to Upstream’s request for comment on the tender process.

Several leading international contractors submitted bids for the first batch of FEED work for what amounts to a third phase of development on Gallaf. Details of the project, known as Gallaf 3.1, were reported by Upstream last month.

Australia’s Worley and France-headquartered Technip Energies were said to be in the fray at an earlier stage, but have lost out to the US player, one person said.

The Gallaf 3.1 project’s workscope includes up to 11 wellhead platforms, one riser platform, one central processing platform, living quarters and a flare tower, another source said.

Strategic investments

While Qatar continues to invest billions of dollars in expanding the production potential of its giant North Field, the emirate is also expected to press ahead with strategic developments such as the Al-Shaheen, Bul Hanine and Idd El-Shargi North Dome oilfields.

Record commodity prices and improved market fundamentals have led to increased tendering activity for Qatari oil projects, many of which were put on the back burner for several years.

Later this year, QatarEnergy is expected to advance the further development of the Bul Hanine offshore oilfield that could involve billions of dollars worth of investments.

Gallaf awards

NOC last year dished out awards for the third batch of Gallaf Phase 2 (Gallaf 2.3), placing work worth upwards of $1 billion to leading contractors.

Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering landed a contract to build a large fixed offshore platform as part of Package 6 for the Al-Shaheen expansion.

The main Package 6 contract was valued at 725 billion won ($620 million), Daewoo has said.

PetroVietnam Technical Services Corporation (PTSC) landed a separate EPCI contract for Package 5 of the Gallaf development.

This included two wellhead platforms with a total weight of up to 19,000 tonnes, PTSC said.

PTSC was associated with the first batch of Gallaf. In 2018, NOC awarded the Vietnamese company a contract thought to be worth between $300 million and $350 million for the decks and bridges of three wellhead platforms.

Largest oilfield

Al Shaheen is Qatar’s largest offshore oilfield and accounts for about half of its crude production, said to be about 600,000 barrels per day.

NOC has already carried out two expansion phases at the oilfield and is now laying the groundwork for the third, which is likely to be carried out in multiple phases.

The oilfield’s existing facilities include 33 platforms, 300 wells and several production hubs over nine locations.

Located on Block 5, about 80 kilometres offshore, Al Shaheen began production in 1994, with TotalEnergies assuming operatorship in 2017 when production was about 300,000 bpd.

Under a 25-year concession agreement, TotalEnergies holds a 30% stake in NOC, while QatarEnergy holds a 70% working interest.

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