First regional IWP award expected by year-end

13 December 2002

The jockeying for position in the race for the Middle East's first independent water project (IWP) has reached a potentially decisive phase, with the opening of revised commercial bids on 26 November for Abu Dhabi's Taweelah reverse osmosis (RO) plant. Following revisions to the water specification by the client, Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA), the bidders submitted a base and an alternative bid (MEED 29:11:02).

According to the bid opening prices, the low bidder for the base option is now Japan's Mitsui & Company, with France's Vivendi Water, which tabled a quote of AED 12.221 ($3.30) per 1,000 gallons of water produced. France's Ondeo Groupbid AED 12.808 ($3.49) per 1,000 gallons.

However, in the alternative bids Ondeo was more competitive, submitting an offer of AED 9.985 ($2.72) per 1,000 gallons, compared with the AED 10.232 ($2.79) offered by the Mitsui/Vivendi group.

'The message from ADWEA is that the base bid is the key and there is no reason to anticipate any further rounds of bidding,' says an industry source. 'The latest bids are under review and the expectation is that an award could be made by the end of the year.'

The estimated $300 million-400 million project involves the construction of a 50 million-gallon-a-day plant. The selected foreign partner will take a 40 per cent stake in a new project company, which will build, own and operate the facility. The UK's Mott MacDonaldis technical adviser to the client (MEED 18:10:02; 19:7:02).

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