Saipem has confirmed it has won a deal from Qatar Petroleum (QP) for work on the fifth development phase of its Idd El-Shargi North Dome (ISND) oilfield in the Persian Gulf.

Saipem’s announcement on Wednesday confirms an earlier report by Upstream in October that said that QP had awarded it the prized engineering, procurement and construction contract.

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEW ENERGY TRANSITION NEWSLETTER

Energy explored: Gain valuable insight into the global oil and gas industry's energy transition from Accelerate, the new weekly newsletter from Upstream and Recharge. Sign up here.

“At the beginning of October, Saipem was awarded an offshore engineering and construction contract in Qatar for a value of about $140 million,” the Italian contractor said in its third-quarter results announcement.

Saipem said the project’s workscope “includes the engineering, procurement, construction and installation of a topside, subsea pipelines and additional brownfield works for the modification and tie-ins of existing infrastructures".

The Italian player is said to have pipped compatriot Rosetti Marino, McDermott International of the US and Malaysia’s Sapura Energy for the offshore job.

Saipem chief executive Stefano Cao said during a conference call on Wednesday that the company is upbeat about opportunities in the Middle East, with Qatar expected to “bring interesting near-term evolutions".

“The Middle East is the most promising area for major awards, with giant developments expected in Qatar. We are interested in several large packages there,” Cao said.

Qatar has been progressing with several oil and gas developments, despite the demand destruction due to Covid-19 and plummeting crude prices.

A grouping of Qatar’s Qcon and Saipem landed an EPC contract from QP last year for work on a wellhead jacket, also destined for ISND.

QP took over operatorship of the field — and the Idd El-Shargi South Dome (ISSD) field — from US independent Occidental Petroleum last year and is currently carrying out the fifth development phase at ISND, which involves multiple wellhead platforms that are being added in different stages.

In addition to the most recent ISND project, QP wants to add three wellhead platforms at the offshore oilfield during its next development stage, with that project believed to be currently in the front-end engineering and design phase.

At least five major contractors are battling it out for the ISND FEED contract that is expected to be awarded before the end of this year.

Those said to have submitted technical bids for the FEED job include McDermott, Saipem, UK-based TechnipFMC and Wood plus Australia’s Worley, one project watcher said.

In addition, Norway’s Aker Solutions is also rumoured to be in the fray.

The FEED project’s workscope comprises the second part of QP’s ISND-5 project and will include at least three new wellhead platforms, subsea pipelines and associated offshore infrastructure.

The Idd El-Shargi field was discovered in 1960 and lies 85 kilometres off the east coast of Doha.

ISND is one of Qatar's largest offshore oilfields and consists of the larger North Dome and the smaller South Dome.