Bids have been invited for the main contract in a project to bring drinking water to a collection of towns and villages in the eastern region of the country. The project aims to create a network to serve some 90,000 people in the eastern area of Al-Sharqiya, some 250 kilometres to the southeast of Muscat. The Water Resources Ministry has set the deadline for offers for the Al-Sharqiya Sands main water supply system at 27 December (see Tenders). An award is expected by February or March.

The 17 companies and groups shortlisted for a similar project in Al-Massarat are automatically prequalified for Al-Sharqiya.

They include Consolidated Contractors Company Oman, Hyundai Engineering & Construction Company and Daewoo Corporation, both of South Korea, Arab Contractors (Osman Ahmed Osman & Company) and Societe Egyptienne d’Entreprises, both of Egypt, the UK’s Balfour Beatty, the local Galfar Engineering & Contracting with France’s Sade, Argentina’s Techint and Bin Hafeez General Contracting & Transport Establishment of the UAE.

The contract scope includes supply and installation of 129 kilometres of pipeline ranging from 200-800 millimetres in diameter, construction of two pumping stations, 10 storage tanks, 500-12,000-cubic-metre water towers and one 900-kV substation. In addition, the selected contractor will drill 31 wells, for which it will install wellheads and associated pipeworks, and build 11 tanker points. The contract period is about 18 months.

A secondary package to be let at a later stage covers the distribution system. Some 400 kilometres of pipelines between 100-400 millimetres in diameter will be supplied and installed.

Total project costs, covering the main contract and a secondary package to be let at a later stage, are estimated at $100 million. Most of the financing is coming from regional funding agencies: the Jeddahbased Islamic Development Bank is providing istisnaa financing worth $26 million.

The 15-year package carries annual interest of 5.5 per cent. The Arab Fund for Economic & Social Development and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development are each providing KD 9.5 million ($30.9 million). The remainder will come from the government.

The main supply contract in a parallel scheme in the Al-Massarat area south of Muscat was awarded to Societe Egyptienne d’Entreprises in July for RO 26.6 million ($69.1 million – MEED 19:5:00). Bids have been invited by 20 November for the secondary transmission contract. Works on the 12-month package are expected to begin in March.

The consultant for Al-Sharqiya is Egypt’s Dr Ahmed Abdel-Warith Consulting Engineers. The UK’s Mott MacDonald is advising the Water Resources Ministry on Al-Massarat.