State-owned Qatar Petroleum (QP) has dished out an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract worth more than $2 billion to expand the liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage and loading facilities for the giant North Field East (NFE) project.

QP said Monday the lump-sum EPC contract was awarded to Samsung C&T Corp., only weeks after picking a joint venture (JV) of Technip Energies and Chiyoda Corporation to construct four LNG mega-trains with associated facilities for NFE.

Last month QP sanctioned the $28.75 billion project, the largest LNG development to ever reach a positive financial investment decision (FID). NFE is expected to produce 33 million metric tons/year (mmty) and increase Qatar’s overall LNG production capacity to 110 mmty from 77 mmty. The new facilities would receive 6 Bcf/d from the North Field, considered the world’s largest nonassociated gas field. Production could begin soon as late 2025.

QP said the  contracts represent the culmination of front-end engineering and design work that began in early 2018. 

The Samsung contract scope includes three LNG tanks and three loading berths and associated infrastructure It also includes options for two anks and one berth for the planned North Field South Project (NFS), which would expand the development further. NFS would increase Qatar’s production capacity to 126 mmty from 110 mmty by 2027.

The scope for the Samsung contract also includes expanding systems designed to eliminate gas flaring when LNG ships are loaded, QP said. “In addition, recovery of ‘jetty boil-off gas’ will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

CEO Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi said the detailed engineering activities would be done in the country.

Bids to bring on partners for the expansion are expected to be announced in the next six months. Partners would take on about 30% of the development costs. A process to launch bids to join in NFS would follow. 

On Tuesday, Al-Kaabi said at the virtual CeraWeek by IHS Markit conference that QP will look for U.S. supermajor ExxonMobil to be one of its partners going forward. The pair are already developing the 18.1 mmty Golden Pass LNG export project on the Texas coast.

QP recently has moved to significantly cut emissions and become more active in the growing LNG spot market. The company started drilling wells early last year to feed the NFE project. The expansion was announced in 2018 and later grew in scope after successful appraisal efforts determined that productive layers of the North Field extended into Qatari land in Ras Laffan.