The delay in issuing the RFPs comes as the SWCC/SEC team is completing the evaluation of requests for qualification (RFQs) submitted by 14 consortia in early October. ‘The RFP will not be released for some time,’ says a source close to the project.

In September, Fareed Zedan, governor of the Saudi Electricity Regulatory Authority (ESRA), told MEED that the government had changed its stance on providing guarantees, with credit support agreements now to be provided to WEC for the water purchase and performance guarantees for WEC to buy the electricity until the offtake receives a rating from an international rating agency (Saudi Arabia, MEED Special Report, MEED 26:9:03, pages 48-51).

‘If this is the case, it would be enough for the project to take off,’ says the representative of a company involved in the bidding process. However, the signs are that the government’s offer still falls short of providing guarantees sufficient for some banks and developers.

More than 40 companies had expressed their interest in the Shouaiba IWPP in August. The project will have capacity to produce 700 MW of power and 176 million gallons a day of desalinated water. Germany’s Fichtneris the technical consultant on the project, while HSBCis the financial adviser and Clifford Chancewith the local Law Firm of Yousef & Mohammed al-Jadaanis the legal adviser (MEED 19:9:03).