About six companies bid for the technical consultancy contract. They include Fichtnerand Lahmeyer International, both of Germany, the UK’s Mott MacDonaldand the US’ Kuljian Corporation. Each bid with a local partner. Six international banks are also understood to have bid on 10 December for the financial advisory contract.

Awards are expected in the first quarter of 2003, although progress could be delayed by external issues. The IWPP programme undertaken by SWCC and SEC is being pursued as an alternative to the projects envisaged under the Saudi gas initiative. However, talks on the gas initiative continue and the alternative projects have not yet been given a clear go-ahead.

Four projects are under consideration. They are the water and power co-generation plants at Shouaiba on the Red Sea coast and Jubail and Ras al-Zour on the Gulf coast, each of 2,000 MW. The other project, which will be based at Shuqaiq on the Red Sea, is expected to be somewhat smaller.

Kuljian is now working on another major co-generation plant in the kingdom, at Jubail, for the Power & Water Utilities Company for Jubail & Yanbu (Marafiq). Fichtner is also working on a programme of private power plants for Saudi Aramco (MEED 27:9:02; 15:11:02).