Dubai — Qatar's state-owned Qatar Petroleum Monday invited bids for an engineering, procurement and construction contract on its North Field Expansion project.
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The tender package has been issued to three EPC consortiums: one comprising Japan's Chiyoda Corporation and France's Technip, another comprising Japan's JGC Corporation and South Korea's Hyundai Engineering & Construction, and a third comprising Italy's Saipem, Mcdermott Middle East and Taiwan's CTCI Corporation.
The EPC contract includes building four new LNG mega-trains, which can also produce LPG, a helium plant and supporting infrastructure. The contract is scheduled to be awarded in January 2020.
The expansion project is part of Qatar's vision to boost LNG output to 110 million mt/year by 2024 from 77 million mt/year now.
GULF GAS PLANS ACCELERATE
Despite a continuing rift in the Gulf that has seen a trading blockade imposed on Qatar, its gas expansion plans are pacing forward. The project has already attracted substantial market interest, and Italy's Eni said earlier this year that it was interested in bidding for a stake in the project.
QP's current LNG export plant is already one of the most dominant suppliers on the global stage, though newer projects in Australia and the US have eroded the country's market share.
First output from the new planned trains is targeted for 2023, when the LNG market is expected to be significantly tighter following a spate of unsuccessful LNG projects that have been axed since the oil price crash in 2014.
Aside from LNG, Qatar continues to pipe gas to a number of its Gulf neighbours, despite the diplomatic crisis. Flows through the Dolphin pipeline continue to flow to the UAE, but there are plans within the Gulf to create its own regional gas network, which would reduce reliance on Qatari volumes.
The current plan under consideration will link up Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait, with plans to possibly extend onwards to Iraq.
Aside from Qatar's plans to expand its gas position, a number of indigenous gas plans have also made progress in the region over the past year, most notably in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE, which are all aiming to exploit unconventional gas sources, such as shale.
-- Miriam Malek, firstname.lastname@example.org
-- Edited by Jonathan Fox, email@example.com