Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (Dewa) was due to meet potential advisers on 16 February to discuss plans to launch its first independent water and power project (IWPP).
Bankers expected Dewa to use the event to lay out plans for an IWPP at Hassayn, according to bankers who were planning to attend the talks.
The meetings were due to take place in Dubai and were expected to involve about four groups.
Bankers involved in the talks say Dewa has asked advisers to form financial, legal and technical consortiums.
Dewa cancelled previous plans to develop the Hassayn 1 power and water plant through direct funding in December 2009. It has asked consultants to make bids for advisory services on an IWPP by 22 February.
There is scepticism about Dewa’s proposal, however. “Dewa needs to show it is serious about going ahead with an IWPP and how it will reassure the banks about credit risk,” says the head of project finance at one bank.
Dewa may need to secure support from Abu Dhabi or the federal government for the project now that its own financial situation has become so precarious, according to observers.
Paddy Padmanathan, chief executive officer of Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power, told Bloomberg in early February that his firm would only bid for the contract to develop the IWPP if there was a federal government guarantee.