Cairo and Riyadh are planning to issue construction tenders for the estimated $1.6bn cross-border power sharing network in early 2014, according to reports from Cairo.

The tenders will be launched in the first quarter of 2014, and work is scheduled to begin on the project in 2015, the Egyptian Electricity Ministry has been quoted as saying in the local Egyptian press.

MEED recently reported that the ministry is planning to award the consultancy contract for the network with Saudi Arabia before the end of the year.The ministry had invited 10 companies to participate for the tender.

The governments of Saudi Arabia and Egypt signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to build a cross-border power line on 1 June this year. The connection will have the capacity to transport 3,000MW a day.

The scheme has been discussed for a number of years and was stalled following the political change in Egypt in 2011. The link will mean that Egypt is connected to the four-year-old GCC electricity network, which began operations in mid-2009. It is based on a study that was originally completed by the Arab Fund for Economic & Social Development.

Egypt is expected to fund about 40 per cent of the project, with Saudi Arabia scheduled to pay the remaining 60 per cent.