The plant was originally due to have a capacity of 2,400MW. This has now been revised downwards to 1,500-1,600MW.

Rather than selling the excess power from the plant to Saudi Electricity Company, the clients have decided to build only enough capacity to cover the baseload demand from the refinery and smelter.

China Harbour Engineering Company and South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) submitted bids for the lump sum turnkey engineering, procurement and construction contract on 31 May 2008. It is understood the clients will now retender the project in March.

China Harbour was to procure turbines for the project from Harbin Turbine Company, while HHI had planned to procure them from Siemens China.

Sources close to the scheme say that reducing the size of the smelter may also be an option.