Five international groups are prequalified to bid by 30 March for the mechanical and electrical package, which covers the supply of 10 125-MW hydroelectric turbines. The closing date for the package covering the equipment for the power transmission system has been set for 31 March. It is understood that companies from China, Europe, Japan and Malaysia are among those interested in the two packages, which have a combined value of at least $600 million.

Bid evaluation is ongoing for the estimated $550 million civil works portion of the dam. The bidders are a Chinese team of China International Water & ElectricCorporationand China National Water Resources & Hydropower Engineering Corporation, and a joint venture of Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC)and Salini Costruttoriof Italy.

Four Arab development agencies are funding the civil works package. The Saudi government signed an agreement on 7 January to provide a $150 million loan to be allocated to the project through the Saudi Fund for Development. Funds have also been pledged by the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, the Abu Dhabi Development Fund and the Arab Fund for Social and Economic Development. The total level of funding committed to the project so far stands at $650 million.

The 520-metre long, 1,500-MW hydroelectric dam will be located near the Nile’s fourth cataract, some 210 kilometres north of Khartoum. Construction is set to begin this year and is due to be completed in 2008.

Germany’s Lahmeyer Internationalis the engineering consultant.