Marafiq has given companies four months – until 22 October – to respond. The RFP states that a termination guarantee will be provided by the Finance Ministry, though it is understood that the letter confirming this guarantee is yet to be secured. Sources close to the transaction say that the liquidity position of Marafiq has mitigated the need for any ongoing payment support guarantees.

Industry sources say that despite the guarantee commitment, only three-four groups are expected to submit proposals for the Marafiq project due to the high number of IWPPs presently on the market in the region and the size of the project.

Financial close and the signing of all the project agreements is scheduled for June/July 2005. The first units on the 2,400-MW, 300,000-cubic-metre-a-day plant are set to come on stream in late 2007, with full operations scheduled for 2008.

The RFP allows flexibility on the size of the equity position taken by the developer teams. The maximum position allowed will be 60 per cent and the minimum will be 40 per cent. The project is also hoped to become more attractive in view of the upcoming initial public offering in Marafiq, due later this year or in the first quarter of 2005.

Citigroupand Samba Financial Groupare the financial advisers on the IWPP. A team comprising Germany’s Lahmeyer International,the US’ Kuljian Engineering Corporationand Austria’s ILF Consulting Engineersare the technical advisers.

Shearman & Sterlingwith The Alliance of Abbas F Ghazzawi & Coand Hammad & Al-Mehdarare the legal advisers (MEED 6:2:04).