The five shortlisted bidders for the financial advisory mandate attended a beauty parade, which began on 20 January. They are HSBC, Citibank, BNP Paribas, ABN Amroand Credit Suisse First Boston. The advisory mandate is just for the smelter and does not include the captive power plant. However, there is a possibility that the power element will be incorporated into the assignment, given its synergies with the smelter.

For the power island consultancy, the bidders include Fichtnerand LahmeyerInternational, both of Germany, PB Powerand Mott MacDonald, both of the UK, Switzerland’s Electrowatt Engineering Servicesand the US’ Sargent & Lundy. The power plant is expected to have capacity of 1,200 MW and a small desalination component.

Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA) and Canada’s Alcanhave signed memoranda of understanding with project promoter Oman Oil Companyto participate in the project. A technical and marketing feasibility study, being carried out by Canada’s SNC Lavalin, is due to be completed by June.

The Sohar aluminium smelter has been under discussion since the mid-1990s and will run on feedstock from the central Oman gas fields.