Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco)has been selected for the $85.5 million operation and maintenance (O&M) contract for two gas-fired combined cycle power plants at Bedawi in the north and Zahrani in the south of the country (MEED 24:9:04).

Under the contract, Kepco will operate and maintain the plants, which each have 435 MW of capacity and will be converted from diesel to gas-fired generation. ‘Originally, natural gas was to be supplied from a pipeline from Syria but now it is likely they will receive low-pressure gas from Algeria,’ says a project source. At least six other companies bid for the contract, including Italy’s Ansaldo Energiaand France’s Alstom.

The client, Electricite du Liban (EdL), initially awarded the contract in January 2004 to Ireland’s Shanahan Engineering. However, Shanahan’s contract was cancelled by the government, which said there had not been enough competition.

The contract was then retendered in February and awarded in May to Iran’s Tamirat Niroo Tehran. However, Tamirat withdrew from the contract after refusing to meet Beirut’s performance bond requirements. ‘We were invited to bid in the recent process but we didn’t participate,’ says a Tamirat representative.

EdL then awarded the contract to Ansaldo. But that award was cancelled in July by the Council of Ministers, which demanded that the contract be retendered, also on the grounds of lack of competition.

EdL officials say a date for an official award ceremony for the Kepco contract has yet to be finalised.