Dubai seeks EPC firms for $22bn tunnels project

08 February 2024
Dubai Municipality to prequalify EPC contractors ahead of the PPP prequalification


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Dubai Municipality has invited engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) companies to prequalify for the contracts to be procured under the multibillion-dollar Dubai Strategic Sewerage Tunnels (DSST) project

The project aims to convert Dubai's existing sewerage system from a pumped system to a gravity system by decommissioning the existing pump stations and providing "a sustainable, innovative, reliable service for future generations".

Dubai Municipality has requested interested companies to submit their statements of qualifications by 26 February, according to an industry source.

It expects to announce the prequalified EPC contractors by 11 March, following which it plans to start the prequalification process for the public-private partnership (PPP) consortiums that can bid for the project.

Dubai is currently served by two major sewerage catchments. The first, located in Deira, is called Warsan, where the flow is treated by the existing Warsan sewage treatment plant (STP).

The second catchment, called Jebel Ali, is in Bur Dubai, where the wastewater is treated at the Jebel Ali STP.

The DSST project is broken down into six packages, which will be tendered separately.

The first package, J1, comprises Jebel Ali tunnels (North) and terminal pump stations (TPS). The tunnels are to extend approximately 42 kilometres with the links extending 10km. 

The second package, J2, covers the southern section of the Jebel Ali tunnels, which will extend 16km, with a link stretching 46km.

W for Warsan, the third package, comprises 16km of tunnels, TPS and 46km of links.

J3, the fourth package, comprises 129km of links, which will be operated by the Dubai Municipality once completed, unlike the first three packages, which are envisaged to be operated and maintained by the winning PPP contractors.  

J1, J2 and W will be procured under a design-build-finance-operate-maintain model with a concession period expected to be between 25 and 35 years.

J3 will be procured under a design-build-finance model with a concession period ranging between 25 and 35 years.

J1, J2, W and J3 will comprise the deep sewerage tunnels, links and TPS (DLT) components of the overall project.

Meed understands the remaining two packages of the project, the expansion and upgrade of the Jebel Ali and Warsan STPs, will be procured in a process separate from the four DSST-DLT components of the project.

The requests for proposals (RFPs) for the four DSST-DLT packages are likely to be issued in sequential order on a staggered basis around six to 12 months apart.

According to the prequalification document, the bidders for each of the PPP RFPs will be prequalified consortiums comprised of sponsors, EPC contractors and operation and management (O&M) contractors.

Dubai’s Executive Council approved the DSST project in June 2023 and said it would require an investment of about AED80bn ($22bn).

The Council said that the project has been designed to serve the needs of the Dubai population for the next 100 years in alignment with the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 and the Dubai Urban Plan 2040.

Dubai Municipality appointed advisers for the overall scheme last year. It selected Abu Dhabi-headquartered Tribe Infrastructure Group as lead and financial adviser, UK-based Ashurst as legal adviser and the US' Parsons as technical adviser.

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