Saudi Arabia has extended the deadline for bids on two contracts to build a power and water project at Yanbu yet again. Bidders now have until 23 July to respond to the request for proposals for both the contract for the power generation and water desalination contract instead of 7 May.

According to a source at SWCC, the deadline has been pushed back “at the request of the bidders”. The original deadlines for the desalination and power components were 21 September 2010. The bid deadlines have already been pushed back on several occasions.

In January, the scope of the power component was changed from 1,700MW to 2,500MW. That led to the deadline for bids on both the power plant and adjacent 550,000-cubic metre-a-day desalination facility to be extended to March.

Contractors were given until 19 March to respond to the desalination tender. The bid deadline for the power tender was moved to 9 April. The deadlines for both components was then moved to 7 May.

Phase three will be built to the south of the existing power and desalination plants at Yanbu on the western coast of Saudi Arabia.

SWCC and Marafiq have been working together on the project since they combined their respective schemes for the Yanbu site in July 2009. They are tendering design, engineering and construction contracts for the power and desalination components separately.

Construction is expected to take three years from site handover to commercial operation. Heavy fuel oil will be the main fuel source for the project, with diesel oil used for start-up of the plant.

Seawater for the desalination unit will be obtained through an intake channel and an outfall culvert will discharge seawater and brine back into the Red Sea.

The plant will be connected to the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) grid through a newly constructed 380kV substation at Yanbu. Germany’s Fichtner is the adviser on the project.