Six consortiums that have prequalified for the $4.5bn phase 1 of Jordan’s national Red Sea Project to reverse falling water levels in the Dead Sea, have been given until 30 January to submit their bids, sources tell MEED.

The original project timeline forecast that a preferred bidder would be announced on 29 November, but firms now have until 2012 to submit proposals.

The $10bn Jordan Red Sea Project was launched at the end of 2009 as an alternative to the Red Sea-Dead Sea conveyance system, which is being undertaken by Israel, Palestine and Jordan assisted by the World Bank. It is understood that Jordan’s desperate water supply situation is the catalyst behind the new national scheme with the kingdom eager to begin producing desalinated water.

According to the Jordan Red Sea Company, the new project will bring 930 million cubic metres a year of desalinated water online over the next 40 years. The first phase, currently under tender, will see the construction of two new desalination facilities bringing online 210 million cubic metres of water a year.

The firms prequalified to bid are Spain’s Acciona Agua with Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation; Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power International; Jordan Red Sea Group (Athens-based CCC, Saudi Oger, Suez); Egypt’s Orascom Construction Industries; Samsung C&T Corporation; and China’s Sinohydro Corporation