Eight wastewater treatment plants will be sold to private investors. These include four existing plants, two plants that are under construction and two greenfield plants.

Three plants with a total capacity of 600,000 cubic metres a day (cm/d) are in operation in the Manfouha area of the capital.

A fourth plant at Al-Kharj has a capacity of 100,000 cm/d. Private investors will operate the existing plants as well as two being built in the Al-Kharj and Al-Hayer areas with capacities of 100,000 cm/d and 400,000 cm/d respectively.

The developers will also build two plants – a 400,000 cm/d plant at Al-Hayer and another 100,000 cm/d plant at Al-Kharj – on a 20-year build-own-operate contract. They are due to open in 2012.

It is likely two project firms will be set up to operate the plants. The first will take responsibility for the five plants at Manfouha and Al-Hayer and the second will operate the three Al-Kharj plants.

The ministry is busy finalising the structure of the project and will submit its plan to the Supreme Economic Council for approval.

The privatisation contracts are expected to be signed in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Tender documents are now being prepared by an advisory team, which includes HSBC, Germany’s Fichtner Consulting Engineers and UK law firm Clifford Chance.