The consortium led by France’s GDF Suez is expected to win the contract to develop the Mirfa independent water and power project (IWPP) in Abu Dhabi.

According to sources, close to the project, GDF Suez is the only developer still in discussions with the client, the Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (Adwea). Japan’s Marubeni, the low bidder for the project, has not held discussions with Adwea since April. Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power was also in discussions with Adwea, but is believed to now be out of the running for the contract.

GDF is not believed to have yet received a letter of commencement from Adwea, but according to sources in Abu Dhabi the developer is expected to be appointed by the end of June.

The Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (Adwea) received bids from six consortiums for the IWPP scheme on 6 March. The consortiums all submitted prices for a 1,600MW capacity power plant and a 52.5 million gallon-a-day (g/d) reverse-osmosis desalination plant.

The winning bidder will take a 40 per cent stake in a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the IWPP, which will have a capacity of 1,500MW of power and 53 million g/d of water. Adwea will hold a 60 per cent stake in the project.

The project will comprise several parts. The developer will own, develop, finance, construct, operate and maintain a greenfield power plant together with the reverse-osmosis desalination plant.

In addition to the greenfield work, the developer will be responsible for taking over certain existing assets of Al-Mirfa Power Company. It will also install four existing open-cycle gas turbines, each with a capacity of about 100MW.

The Federal Electricity & Water Authority (Fewa) purchased the turbines from the US’ GE in February 2005 before they were transported to Mirfa in 2009. The SPV will be responsible for integrating three 7.5 million g/d desalination units, which were installed by Italy’s Fisia Italimpianti, into the new plant.

The project will be built at Mirfa, a site located around 120 kilometres from Abu Dhabi. It will be built within Adwea’s existing power and desalination complex. Adwea is responsible for decommissioning and demolishing its existing assets at the Mirfa site. Power from the project will be bought by Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Company (Adwec) under a long-term power and water purchase agreement. Adwec will supply the project with gas feedstock.