The successful company will be required to take a 51 per cent interest in the project’s capital, with NEAL and Banque Exterieure d’Algerie (BEA)taking a 34 per cent stake and the European Investment Bank (EIB) holding a 15 per cent interest.

The 12 companies to express interest include General Electricand CME International, both of the US, Cobra Instalaciones & Serviciosof Spain, Siemensand SolarMillennium, both of Germany, Canada’s SNC Lavalin, US-based Black & Veatch, Japan’s Mitsui & Company, France’s Alstomand the US/local Brown & Root Condor.

NEAL was created in July 2002 to encourage domestic production, use and export of renewable energy. Its shareholders are state energy company Sonatrach, state power company Sonelgaz– each with a 45 per cent shareholding – and private industrial group Semouleries Industrielles de la Mitidja (SIM), which holds the remainder.