The tight market conditions could also allow new entrants into the region’s growing IWPP sector.

According to leading developers in the region, the success of the projects will depend on their ability to secure engineering, procurement and construction resources.

At least five major projects are under way in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Oman. Together, they will add up to 416 million gallons a day of desalinated water and 6,800MW of power to the region’s networks.

But developers, contractors and turbine suppliers are already stretched and are likely to be selective when choosing projects.

The shortage of expertise is providing a foothold for new entrants. Saudi Arabia’s United Infrastructure Developers Company has prequalified for Shuweihat 2 in the UAE, as has Spain’s Union Fenosa. The latter has also prequalified for the Salalah IWPP in Oman, and Yanbu and Ras al-Zour in Saudi Arabia. On 29 November, requests for proposals were issued for the Shuweihat 2 and Salalah IWPPs.

Earlier in the month, Bahrain invited expressions of interest for its IWPP at Addur. Prospective bidders have until 10 February 2008 to submit proposals for Ras al-Zour.

Adding to the work, on 27 November Power & Water Utility for Yanbu & Jubail (Marafiq) announced the prequalifiers for the Yanbu IWPP. A request for proposals will follow soon.