Over 20 international developers and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors responded by 18 January to the Umm al-Nar solicitation of interest. Given the size of the project, it is expected that bidding groups will be made up of at least two developers, as well as nominated EPC contractors and financial and legal advisers.

Five-six groups are expected to be prequalified for the project and will be handed the request for proposals (RFP) document, due out in mid April. Bidders are likely to be given about four months to prepare their offers.

Developers will bid the project on the basis of taking a 40 per cent stake in a new project company, which will purchase 70 million gallons a day (g/d) of recently built desalination capacity at Umm al-Nar. It will also be responsible for installing at least 1,000 MW of generation capacity, which will allow existing capacity to be decommissioned in phases, and possibly, some new desalination capacity.

Umm al-Nar will be Abu Dhabi’s fourth IWPP. ADWEA is being advised on the project by Credit Suisse First Boston, Germany’s Fichtnerand the US’ White & Case(MEED 21:9:01). ADWEA is also considering the emirate’s first independent water project (IWP), a 50 million-g/d reverse osmosis (RO) plant at Taweelah (Water, MEED Special Report, 25:1:02).