Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) has awarded a front-end engineering and design contract to McDermott International of the US for work on a huge liquefied natural gas export terminal in the United Arab Emirates.

The emirati state-owned giant confirmed the development in a social media post on Wednesday.

“Adnoc’s new, carbon-efficient LNG plant in Fujairah is moving to the design stage, with McDermott International Ltd appointed as the design contractor,” the company said.

The project — comprising two 4.8 million tonnes per annum LNG trains — is expected to increase Adnoc’s LNG production capacity by 9.6 million tpa, it noted.

Adnoc said the plant is “set to become one of the world’s lowest carbon intensity LNG production facilities through incorporating new technologies and running on clean power”.

The FEED award is “expected to be followed by the award of an EPC contract in 2023”, the company added.

Upstream reported last month that up to four leading international engineering giants were in the frame for the prized FEED contract for the Fujairah LNG project.

McDermott is said to have pipped KBR, Fluor and Technip Energies in the engineering contest.

Adnoc plans to develop the two-train 9.6 million tpa liquefaction facility at Fujairah to cater to several gas markets around the world.

Strategic move

The UAE’s LNG ambitions are a part of its drive to become a key gas exporter in the long-term and to reduce its dependence on imported Qatari gas.

Adnoc chief executive Sultan Ahmed al Jaber has earlier highlighted the UAE’s ambitions to emerge as a key LNG exporter on the back of several gas-focused upstream developments in the emirate, including the giant Hail & Ghasha sour gas scheme.

The company is separately progressing with a revised FEED study on the Hail & Ghasha project, which is likely to be worth billions of dollars and would significantly ramp up the emirate’s gas production capability.

The UAE consumes about 1.8 billion cubic feet per day of Qatari gas via the Dolphin pipeline and also has LNG purchase agreements with its neighbour.

The Fujairah LNG terminal could catapult UAE forward to becoming a major regional LNG exporter, thus competing with its neighbour Qatar and reducing its dependence on imports.

Two LNG trains

The Fujairah liquefaction plant will include process facilities, flare and utilities, project watchers earlier said.

LNG storage tanks, an export jetty — with an option for bunkering — and other associated facilities are also likely to be involved.

The workscope could also include the laying of a new 52-inch gas pipeline from Habshan to Fujairah, with the capacity to handle up to 2 Bcfd.

Adnoc LNG, a subsidiary of Adnoc, already produces about 6 million tpa of LNG from its facilities on Das Island off the coast of Abu Dhabi.

The company is owned by Adnoc with a 70% stake, with Mitsui holding 15%, BP 10%, and TotalEnergies 5%.