Egypt’s Construction Authority for Potable Water & Wastewater (CAPW) has awarded an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract worth $320m to a consortium of the local Orascom Construction and Spain’s FCC Aqualia to build the Abu Rawash wastewater treatment plant.

Orascom announced on 13 September it had been awarded the contract to construct the plant, which had originally been planned to have been developed under a public-private partnership (PPP) model. MEED reported earlier this year that CAPW had dropped plans to procure the Abu Rawash facility under a PPP model, and was planning to proceed with the scheme under an EPC model.

The Orascom/Aqualia joint venture will built the plant and then provide operation and maintenance (O&M) services for a period of three years.

The Abu Rawash project is planned to expand the capacity of the existing plant from 1.2 million cubic metres a day (cm/d) to 1.6 million cm/d, as well as the construction of an advance secondary treatment stage.

The project has faced several delays since it was first launched. The PPP Central Unit initially produced a list of prequalified companies allowed to bid to build the plant in early 2011, but due to delays resulting from the political uprisings and changes in specifications, the project owner decided to reopen the prequalification process.

CAPW and the PPP Central Unit received bids in January 2015 from three consortiums, and subsequently shortlisted proposals from Orascom and Kuwait’s Kharafi National.

The dropping of the PPP structure for the project is regarded as major a blow for Egypt’s planned PPP programme, with the Abu Rawash scheme having been the first PPP scheme launched since the 2011 revolution and was regarded as a key trailblazing project for the rest of the country’s prospective PPP programme.

Cairo has faced a number of challenges with planned PPP in the power and water sectors due to currency issues and disputes over international arbitration clauses in contracts.