Bidders line up for gas pipeline

29 October 2001

At least 20 local and international companies purchased tender documents by the 22 October deadline for a contract to build a pipeline to distribute Egyptian gas throughout Jordan. The deadline for bids is 22 December. Industry sources say there is a high level of interest in the project, which will involve construction of a 370-kilometre pipeline to transport gas from Aqaba to a planned independent power project (IPP) at Kherbet al-Samra near Amman and to other existing power plants. Belgium's Tractebel, which is in negotiations for the contract to develop the IPP, is understood to be among the bidders for the build-own-operate (BOO) gas pipeline contract. The Energy & Mineral Resources Ministry is expected to announce the successful bidder in March, according to project consultant Arthur D Little(MEED 22.6.01).

Under an agreement signed in June, Egypt-based Al-Sharq Gas Companywill deliver 1,000 million cubic metres a year (cm/y) of gas to Jordan for 15 years from 2003. The capacity of the pipeline will be 10,000 million cm/y to allow for the sale of gas to Jordan and for a proposed extension to Syria, Lebanon, and possibly on to Turkey.

Lebanon, Syria and Egypt signed a memorandum of understanding in December 2000 to set up a regional gas pipeline. Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri has announced proposals for the creation of a joint public/private sector company in Beirut to oversee plans for the distribution network. Cyprus also plans to join the regional gas grid, Nicosia's Commerce & Industry Ministry announced on 15 October. The island plans to switch to natural gas for its energy needs within five years, and is looking at proposals for a pipeline to connect to the grid in Lebanon.

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