Oman Power & Water Procurement Company (OPWP) has extended the deadline for developers to express interest in its Al-Ghubrah independent water and power project.

The initial deadline of 10 February has been delayed to late March.

The deadline for the submission of proposals is expected to follow in May. OPWP will not issue a separate request for prequalification on the project, instead including the qualification criteria in the request for proposals.

OPWP plans to select a preferred bidder in July. A contract award is scheduled in October.

The plant will have capacity of 450-600MW of power and 30 million gallons a day of desalinated water.

OPWP will enter into a 15-year power and water purchase agreement with the winning developer, although the finance ministry will not guarantee the utility’s payment obligations.

The plant will use natural gas as its primary fuel source, with diesel oil as a back-up. The Oil & Gas Ministry will supply it with the gas.

The plant will begin producing power on 1 April 2012 and will being operating commercially a year later.

Ernst & Young is the financial adviser on the project. The UK’s DLA Piper is the legal adviser and British Power International is the technical adviser.