France's Ondeo Groupis the frontrunner for the region's first independent water project (IWP), following the opening of commercial bids on 14 October for the Taweelah reverse osmosis (RO) plant in Abu Dhabi. According to the announced prices, Ondeo quoted AED 12.296 ($3.4) per 1,000 gallons of water produced. Its price was 16 per cent lower than the quote of AED 14.57 ($4) per 1,000 gallons submitted by Japan's Mitsui & Companywith France's VivendiWater.
One other company, Spain's Cadagua, submitted a technical proposal but not a commercial bid (MEED 19:7:02).
The client, Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA), has indicated that it would like to make a selection by early November. The estimated $300 million-400 million project involves the construction of a 50 million-gallon-a-day RO plant. The selected foreign partner will take a 40 per cent stake in a new project company, which will build, own and operate the facility. It will also arrange the debt finance. BNP Paribasis acting as Ondeo's financial adviser, while ANZ Investment Bankis acting as financial adviser to the Mitsui/Vivendi group, which also includes Japan's Toyo Engineering Corporation.
The RO plant will take advantage of spare power generating capacity at Taweelah in the winter months, when electricity demand can be as low as 35 per cent of the peak summer level. The water is expected to be used to meet agricultural demand in the Al-Ain area.
The UK's Mott MacDonald is technical adviser to ADWEA.