The local Emirates Steel Industries (ESI) is set to invite bids in the third quarter for the estimated $1bn engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the planned phase III expansion of its mini-mill project in Abu Dhabi.

A source close to the project says that the phase III expansion will involve the construction of a flat product plant that will produce 1.2 to 1.3 million tonnes-a-year (t/y) of steel plate.

“We are hoping to award the EPC contract for the project later this year. The construction will take between 24 and 30 months, with operations due to start in mid-2013,” the source says. “The budget we are looking at is around the $1bn mark.”

Prospective bidders for the contract include Italy’s Danieli as well as a consortium of Germany’s SMS Group and Samsung Engineering & Construction (Samsung E&C) from South Korea.

“We have held preliminary discussions with the large industry players such as Danieli and SMS as well as others,” says the source. “We expect many interested parties.”

Danieli was awarded the contract for the phase II expansion at the ESI complex, located at the Industrial City of Abu Dhabi in Mussafah, which included the construction of a heavy section mill producing 1 million-t/y of large size sections, beams, columns and sheet piles (MEED 21:1:10).

Samsung E&C also confirmed to MEED that it would be bidding with SMS. The two companies were recently awarded a $500m contract for the Hidd Steel Mill in Bahrain.

ESI is owned by Abu Dhabi’s state-controlled General Holding Corporation through Abu Dhabi Basic Industries Corporation.