TotalFinaElf awards Iranian company Balal subcontract

TotalFinaElf SA has awarded Iranian firm Iranian Offshore Engineering & Construction and its Singapore partner, Sembawang�a unit of Sembcorp Industries Ltd.�a subcontract to work on the Balal oil field project off Iran, reported the Middle East Economic Digest.


LONDON�TotalFinaElf SA has awarded Iranian firm Iranian Offshore Engineering & Construction and its Singapore partner, Sembawang�a unit of Sembcorp Industries Ltd.�a subcontract to work on the Balal oil field project off Iran, reported the Middle East Economic Digest.

The contract is worth $100 million and includes construction of a wellhead platform, living quarters, production facilities, a flare tower, and a bridge.

The choice of IOEC and Sembawang follows a year-long dispute between the National Iranian Oil Co. (NIOC) and TotalFinaElf over who should repair or replace a 100-km undersea pipeline to the coast, damaged during the 8-year Iran-Iraq conflict.

The dispute has now been settled, and "NIOC has undertaken responsibility for the line," reported the weekly, adding NIOC was now negotiating a "repair contract with three unidentified gulf-based firms."

TotalFinaElf, which in 1999 was chosen as partner by Canada's Bow Valley Energy Ltd. to complete the $300 million repair and upgrade of the Balal field, was demanding that a new line should be built.

The wellhead platform will be ready in 10 months' time, with the rest of the work completed by yearend 2001.

Nozar Arian, IOEC's business development director, said recently that should the pipeline be ready earlier, however, Balal would go on stream before that date.

The Balal project originally went to Bow Valley Energy, and production of 40,000 b/d was then expected this year, but the company's failure to find a suitable partner delayed production.

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