Oman’s Public Authority for Electricity & Water (PAEW) has delayed the deadline for bids to provide contract management services covering the country’s water sector.

The original deadline for bids was 18 January, but the seven prequalified bidders were then granted an extension to 8 March, which has now been further prolonged to 29 March.

The shortlisted bidders are Germany’s Gelsenwasser; a Singaporean group of Jurong Consultants with Pub Consultants and Boustead Singapore; a UAE/German joint venture of Metito Berlinwasser with Malaysia’s Ranhill Utilities Sendirian; the UK’s Severn Trent Services International; France’s Suez Environnement; the UK’s United Utilities International; and France’s Veolia Water.

Six of the seven prequalified bidders attended a pre-bid conference held by PAEW on 31 January and 1 February. Gelsenwasser was the only bidder not to attend.

The winning bidder will also improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the existing water networks.

KPMG is the lead adviser to PAEW on the deal. The UK’s Atkins is technical adviser and France’s Gide Loyrette Nouel with the local Al-Busaidy, Mansoor Jamal & Company are legal advisers.

The advisers have been working on the programme since their appointment a year ago, following a competitive process in which five other bidders competed.

PAEW was established in 2007 by a royal decree, which transferred the government’s responsibilities for providing power and water to the new entity. PAEW also took over all of the government’s power and water assets.