The bidders are Hyundai Engineering & Construction Companyand Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction, both of South Korea, the UK’s Weir Westgarthand Sidemof France. Bids will not be opened until the authorities establish an evaluation committee, which is expected to be formed by early May. The bid opening is expected by clarification meetings, after which the companies will be asked to submit final prices. The winner will be announced in the third quarter at the earliest.

Sidem and Weir Westgarth, together with Italy’s Fisia Italimpianti, are still awaiting a decision on bids, submitted in September 2001, for the construction of desalination plants in Tripoli and Benghazi, each with planned capacity of 250,000 cm/d. The report on the offers has been passed for consideration by the cabinet committee, and Sidem is understood to be frontrunner for the contracts. Both plants will use multi-stage flash (MSF) technology.

The plants form part of Gecol’s ambitious plans to double the country’s desalination capacity within 10 years through the construction of 11 new plants requiring about $1,000 million in investment. Gecol recently issued requests for proposals for the 20,000-cm/d expansion of the desalination plant at Sirte and is preparing tender documents for the expansion of the plant at Zuara, close to the border with Tunisia.