The tender for Egypt’s next wastewater treatment plant project at Abu Rawash is on hold as the list of companies prequalified to bid for the contract has not been approved.

A list of prequalified companies to bid for the project has been formed,but according to a source close to the government, “Nobody wants to sign it off. Everyone is scared to sign these things”.

Many government officials find themselves facing corruption and other charges following the revolution. Few are willing to sign any agreements until a new and permanent government is in place.

The project has already been delayed on several occasions.

Prequalification was reopened for the third time in December 2010 following alterations to the scope of the project. The adjustment revised down the planned capacity of the sludge management and cogeneration capacities of the project.

In October 2010, the ministry decided to add sludge management and cogeneration capabilities to the project and reopened prequalification. The facility was to have a secondary treatment capacity of 800,000 cubic metres a day (cm/d) and a power generation capacity of 9MW. However, prospective bidders were then informed that this would be reduced.

The winning bidder will sign a 20-year public-private partnership (PPP) agreement for the design, financing and construction of a secondary treatment stage, sludge management facilities and cogeneration unit.

Power from the cogeneration unit will feed into the wastewater treatment project. The higher costs associated with adding power generation to the project is to be absorbed by the bidders in higher bid prices.

The original contract was to include the operation and maintenance of a 1.2 million cm/d primary treatment facility with no sludge treatment or cogeneration units.

Five consortiums were prequalified to bid for the project in April 2010. The groups were:

  • Orascom (local), Veolia (France), Aqualia Gestion (Spain) and Aqualia Infrastructure (Spain)
  • Mohamed Abdulmohsin al-Kharafi & Sons Company (Kuwait) and Cadagua (Spain)
  • AAW (local), Degremont (France) and Hassan Allam Sons (local)
  • Acciona Agua (Spain), Icat (local) and Samcrete (local)
  • Samsung Engineering (South Korea), Macquarie (Australia), Donga (South Korea) and KB Entec (South Korea)

The tender is being run by Egypt’s Housing, Utilities and Urban Development Ministry represented by the Construction Authority for Potable Water and Wastewater with technical assistance from the PPP Central Unit of the Finance Ministry.

The UK’s Trowers & Hamlins and KPMG are the government’s legal and financial advisers respectively.