A trio of leading international engineering, procurement and construction players is battling it out for a sizeable onshore contract from Qatargas for work on the first expansion phase of its giant North Field.

Multiple people with direct knowledge of the development told Upstream that at least three EPC contractors recently submitted technical bids for the fourth package (Package 4) of the giant liquefied natural gas expansion scheme.

Package 4 comprises sulphur-handling facilities destined for the first expansion phase — North Field East (NFE) — that aims to ramp up the emirate’s LNG production capacity to 110 million tonnes per annum by 2025.

Those said to have submitted technical offers for Package 4 include Italy’s Saipem, Spain’s Tecnicas Reunidas and South Korean giant Hyundai E&C, one person said.

Commercial offers for the prized onshore contract are likely to be submitted early next year, he added.

While Qatar has already dished out awards for Packages 1,2 and 3 meant for the NFE project, the award for the fourth package is likely to be finalised by the first quarter of 2022, a second person said.

FID in place for the first phase

This year, QatarEnergy (previously Qatar Petroleum) announced the final investment decision for the first NFE phase, valuing it at $28.75 billion.

QatarEnergy had yet to respond to an Upstream query on the Package 4 tender process.

The four giant EPC packages together represent the first development phase of NFE.

Qatargas is carrying out the tender process on behalf of QatarEnergy for multiple onshore and offshore packages meant for the NFE project.

Giant expansion scheme

The giant Qatari capacity expansion scheme is expected to wrest global dominance of natural gas liquefaction capacity back from Australia, although the US is also experiencing an LNG capacity surge that could usurp both countries.

Qatar currently has a nameplate liquefaction capacity of 77 million tonnes per annum, behind Australia’s nearly 88 million tpa.

The first NFE phase would increase the emirate’s capacity to 110 million tpa by the middle of this decade, giving it a much stronger foothold in key Asia-Pacific markets.

In addition, Qatar is also poised to embark on the second phase of the planned expansion, the NFS (North Field South) project, which aims to increase national LNG production capacity from 110 million tpa to 126 million tpa by 2027.

Upstream understands that a final investment decision on the NFS project is likely to be taken by Qatar next year.

Multiple awards

QatarEnergy has awarded contracts this year for the three key onshore packages meant for the NFE project.

Earlier this year, the operator signed an onshore contract worth $13 billion with a consortium of Chiyoda and Technip Energies on the first onshore package comprising liquefaction facilities.

The work scope for Package 1 includes the construction of four LNG mega-trains with associated facilities.

In March, South Korea’s Samsung C&T won a $2 billion-plus EPC contract from Qatargas for work on giant storage tanks (Package 2) required for NFE.

QatarEnergy recently awarded a contract to Tecnicas Reunidas for the onshore EPC package (Package 3) involving utilities work on the North Field.

The Spanish company is the EPC contractor responsible for the expansion of existing liquid products storage and loading facilities.

The work scope also involves the expansion of import facilities for monoethylene glycol at Ras Laffan Industrial City, as well as other ancillary facilities and pipelines.

Saad Sherida Al Kaabi, the chief executive of QatarEnergy earlier said that “activities on the ground are progressing well on all fronts and according to plan”, and Qatar is “on target to deliver the first LNG from the NFE project by the end of 2025”.