Progress with the Cairo North build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) power station project has been held up by the need to tailor the financing arrangements to the changed status of the client, industry sources say. The transformation of the Egyptian Electricity Authority (EEA) into a corporation has implications for the financial guarantees, and the government is anxious to resolve this issue before going ahead with the tender invitation, the sources say.

It is also understood that the government is planning to revise the specifications of the project so that it will only involve one combined cycle unit of 600-750 MW, rather than two as originally planned. Bids are also due to be invited soon for a new power station in the Delta, financed directly by the government.

The main issue to be settled on Cairo North is the guarantees for the power purchase agreement. For previous BOOT projects, the Central Bank of Egypt provided guarantees, on the basis that the buyer – EEA – was a state organisation. The change of EEA’s status means a different structure must be found.