Moroccan utility Office National de l’Electricite (ONE) has selected US-headquartered Lazard and the local Banque Marocaine du Commerce Exterieur (BMCE) as financial advisers on the expansion of the Jorf Lasfar independent power project (IPP).

The UK’s HSBC and France’s Credit Agricole CIB (formerly Calyon) submitted the lowest bids. The US’ Citigroup and the UK’s Rothschild also submitted bids.

The utility mandated US firm Chadbourne & Parke as its legal adviser in February.

ONE intends to increase the capacity of the existing 1,400MW Jorf Lasfar project by an additional 700MW.

The current Jorf Lasfar plant, which is southwest of Casablanca, is owned by Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa). Taqa appointed France’s BNP Paribas as its adviser on the expansion scheme in November 2009.

Taqa, which bought the plant from the US’ CMS Generation in 2007, signed the contract to expand the plant in May 2009.

The plant was built in 1998 with a project finance loan of $1bn, making it one of the first IPPs in the region.