For the purpose of tendering, the phase 1 programme has been split into five main packages covering 13 lots. The packages are:

A1, substations. Six international contractors are prequalified for the 400-kV substation package, which is divided into six lots. The six new substations will be built at Al-Zour in Kuwait, Fadhili and Ghunan, both in Saudi Arabia, Al-Jasr in Bahrain, Doha South in Qatar and Salwa on the Qatari/Saudi border;

A2, HVDC (high-voltage direct-current) terminals. Five international contractors are prequalified for the package, which covers one lot, the construction of the HVDC converter station at Fadhili;

B1, overhead lines. Twenty-four international and regional contractors are prequalified for the 400-kV transmission line package, which has been split into four lots. They are: 310 kilometres of double-circuit transmission line between Al-Zour and Fadhili; 100 kilometres of double-circuit transmission line between Fadhili and Ghunan; 200 kilometres of double-circuit line between Ghunan and Salwa and Ghunan and Ras al-Qurrayah, on the shores of the Gulf; and 100 kilometres of double-circuit line between Salwa and Doha South;

B2, submarine cable. Four companies are prequalified for the package, which covers one lot, the 40-kilometre, 400-kV submarine link between Ras al-Qurrayah to Al-Jasr;

C, control centre and telecommunications. Six international contractors are prequalified for the package, which will be tendered as one lot.

Only Europe’s ABBis prequalified for all five packages, while Germany’s Siemensand France’s Areva T&Dare prequalified for four.

Under GCCIA’s bidding schedule, prequalifiers will be given eight-10 weeks to prepare their offers. The first contract awards are scheduled for May 2005, with project commissioning set for the first half of 2008.

Canada’s SNC Lavalinis providing consultancy services on phase 1, which will be financed by Riyadh, Kuwait, Manama and Doha.