Bahrain’s Finance Ministry has issued the request for expressions of interest (EOI) for the development of the Tubli sewage treatment plant.

Developers have until 1 December to respond to the EOI, and sources close to the project say a request for qualification (RFQ) document should be issued later that month, with a request for proposals (RFP) to be issued in March, and bids bid around mid-2011.

The project will involve the development of an entirely new 200,000 cubic metres a day sewage treatment plant, with 6 kilometres of associated sewer networks.

Initially the project had been expected to include a private sector developer taking on the ownership and rehabilitation of an existing plant at the site, but this idea has been dropped. One source close to the project says, “The Tubli plant is pretty decrepit and is being run hugely over capacity, so it’s a much more attractive project to the private sector now that is not included.”

The existing plant will continue to be owned and operated by the Works Ministry for around the next 10 years, with the potential for an operation and maintenance contract to be tendered in the future.

The decision to push ahead with the Tubli project comes as an award for Bahrain’s first sewage treatment plant nears. The UK’s United Utilities and South Korea’s Samsung Engineering have been named preferred bidder on the Muharraq wastewater project, and a contract award is due by the end of November.

The government of Bahrain is being advised on the project by Germany’s Fichtner, UK bank HSBC and UK law firm Norton Rose.