Up to five leading international contracting giants are poised for an almighty scrap over a prized offshore contract from Qatargas to provide offshore infrastructure for the second phase of its giant North Field Expansion liquefied natural gas project.

The state-owned giant recently invited bids for up to five offshore jackets required for the North Field South (NFS) project — the second expansion phase of the giant gas field — three people with direct knowledge of the development told Upstream.

“Tenders documents have been issued and bids are likely to be submitted by end of October,” one of them said.

The offshore project includes the engineering, procurement, construction and installation of five sizeable offshore wellhead jackets destined for the NFS project.

Those expected to submit bids include McDermott International of the US, Italy’s Saipem and Rosetti Marino, Indian engineering giant Larsen & Toubro and Malaysia’s Sapura Energy, project watchers said.

Qatargas is a subsidiary of state-owned giant Qatar Petroleum (QP) and is carrying out the tender process for multiple onshore and offshore projects involving the giant expansion scheme.

QP is yet to respond to an Upstream query seeking details on the NFS tender process.

Workscope details

The NFS project development envisages adding "new offshore wells and infrastructure including wellhead platforms, pipelines and onshore facilities to boost LNG production for export,” according to pre-qualification documents seen by Upstream.

One project watcher described the NFS offshore jackets as substantial structures, with each likely to weigh more than 3500 tonnes.

The NFS scheme will be adding 50 wells on the five offshore platforms that are likely to be located about 20 kilometres to 30 kilometres from Ras Laffan, in water depths ranging between 18 and 24 meters in the North Field, Upstream understands.

The five WHPs will produce feedstock for the two new mega-trains and will be connected through an infield pipeline into a trunkline.

Expansion phase

The NFS project aims to increase Qatar’s LNG production capacity to 126 million tonnes per annum by 2027 and is expected to cost billions of dollars.

QP is progressing swiftly with the field’s first expansion phase — North Field East (NFE) — which will raise Qatar’s LNG production capacity from 77 million tpa to 110 million tpa by 2025.

This year, QP announced the final investment decision for NFE, valuing it at around $28.75 billion.

Project watchers have indicated that the second phase, which plans to add two additional liquefaction mega-trains, could be valued at between $15 billion and $20 billion.

North Field East project

A trio of offshore contractors or consortia are battling it out for the Qatargas NFE EPCI contract, Upstream understands.

This workscope comprises at least eight new unmanned wellhead platform topsides.

In addition, up to five additional wellhead topsides meant for NFS could also be included as an option, project watchers said.

Those said to be among the bidders include McDermott, South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries and a grouping of Saipem with Sembcorp Marine.

Last year, Qatargas issued the tenders for the two offshore packages for North Field's first expansion phase.

In addition to the topsides packages, contractors are battling it out for a second package that involves subsea pipelines meant for NFE.

This includes the EPCI of more than 500 kilometres of subsea pipelines and up to 300 kilometres of subsea cables.

For the pipelines package, McDermott, Saipem and Switzerland-based Allseas are said to be in the fray.

McDermott is also working on the EPCI contract involving multiple offshore jackets for the NFE project.