The prospective bidders include a group made up of the UK’s International Powerwith the local Saudi Ogerand Japan’s Mitsui & Company; Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporationwith Korea Electric Power Company (Kepco); and the local Al-Zamil Groupwith France’s Air Liquide. About nine groups are prequalified to submit proposals.

The programme calls for the construction on a build-own-transfer (BOT) basis of:

140-190-MW plant at Ras Tanura with capability to produce 600,000-900,000 pounds an hour of steam;

190-240-MW station at Juaymah to produce 1 million-1.2 million pounds an hour of steam;

170-220-MW plant at Uthmaniyah to produce 1 million-1.2 million pounds an hour of steam;

170-220-MW station at Shedgum to produce 1 million-1.2 million pounds an hour of steam.

Aramco is looking to award the four IPPs under one contract and will sign a 20-year energy conversion agreement (ECA) with the successful bidder. The state-owned company is not looking at present to take a stake in the IPPs, meaning that the selected developer group will be granted a 100 per cent stake.

Three international companies are advising Aramco on the project: Germany’s Fichtneris the technical adviser, BNP Paribasis the financial adviser and White & Caseis the legal adviser.