Prequalifiers are understood to include: the local AH Al-Zamil Group with France’s Air Liquide; Occidental Power, and ChevronTexaco, both of the US; the UK’s International Power with Saudi Oger; Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and Mitsui & Company with JGC Corporation, all of Japan; Canada’s SNC Lavalin; and Saudi Petrogas. US developer AES Corporation is also understood to have prequalified with a local firm.

The four combined cycle IPPs are to be built at Juaimah, Shedgum, Ras Tanoura and Uthmaniya and will have capacities of between 200 MW and 300 MW. A bid deadline of 28 February has been set for the project.

Aramco is also understood to have solicited interest for the small BOOT desalination plant at Rabigh near Yanbu. The plant is to have capacity of about 10,000 cubic metres a day. A prequalification list is to be released on 26 November.

All the power projects and the desalination project have the same advisory team, comprising Germany’s Fichtner on the technical side, US law firm White & Case and BNP Paribas for the financial package.

The other power project, originally envisaged to be developed within the IPP programme, will now be tendered as an EPC contract due to time constraints. The expansion of Berri power plant is being managed by the US’ Foster Wheeler and is to be tendered at the end of the year.