At least five groups have been formed to bid for the Barka 3 and Sohar 2 independent power projects (IPPs) in Oman, according to project sources.

The bids for the plants are due to be submitted to Oman Power & Water Procurement Company (OPWP) by 19 October, after it issued a request for proposals in July.

However, some likely bidders for the projects have requested extensions of up to three months. “The deadline was tight to begin with and they want two projects,” says one developer. “Many have asked for extensions.”

The client has not yet decided on a postponement.

“If it [OPWP] does not extend the deadline, I do not think it will get any bids,” warns another potential bidder.

The bidding groups include Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power International, which has nominated Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation and South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering & Construction as its engineering, procurement and construction contractors.

Japan’s Marubeni Corporation has joined forces with Chubu Electric, also of Japan, and Qatar Electricity & Water Company. The latter has never before bid for such a project. The team has selected South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries as its contractor.

Project timeline

  • July 2009 – Request for proposals issued
  • October 2009 – Deadline for bids
  • May 2012 – Likely start date for plants

Source: MEED

A third developer group comprises the UK’s International Power, UAE-based Mubadala Development Company and the local National Trading Company. It has nominated France’s Alstom as its contractor.

A consortium of Saudi Oger and Korea Electric Power Corporation is also in line to bid. Its contractor is South Korea’s Daewoo Engineering & Construction.

Finally, Belgium’s Suez Energy International has teamed up with Saudi Arabia’s Al-Jomaih Group, with Germany’s Siemens and South Korea’s GS Engineering & Construction as its contractors.

With little project activity elsewhere in the Gulf, the Sohar and Barka schemes present a welcome opportunity for developers. “They are attractive because it is pretty thin on the ground for IPPs at the moment,” says the developer. “They are also quite straightforward because there is no water [desalination] component.”

The combined-cycle power plants will be developed on a build-own-operate basis and will each have capacity of 650-750MW.

The plants are due to begin commercial operation on 15 May 2012. This is based on the assumption that OPWP selects a preferred bidder by early February 2012. Even if there is a delay, the winning bidders will need to provide at least 375MW of power by 1 April 2012.