The projects will be located at Shouaiba and Shuqaiq on the Red Sea coast, and Jubail and Ras al-Zour on the Gulf coast. The two Gulf coast projects are included in the tender as an option. The Shuqaiq IWPP will be smaller than the other three, each of which is expected to have a capacity of about 2,000 MW. The three larger plants were originally intended to be carried out under the aegis of the gas initiative core ventures.

SWCC and SEC are setting up a joint venture company to represent the government in IWPP projects. The private sector will hold a 60 per cent stake in each project, while SEC will own about 10 per cent. The remaining 30 per cent will be owned by the Public Investment Fund but administered by SWCC.

The government is giving a sovereign guarantee for the offtake of water and will guarantee the offtake of power until SEC gains a respectable credit rating. The offtake period will be 20 years and will be carried out by a 50:50 SEC/SWCC joint venture company. Power transmission lines and water pipelines will remain under the control of the two.

SWCC has shortlisted several international banks to act as the financial adviser on the project. They are also due to bid by mid-December. It is not yet clear whether they are to advise on individual IWPPs or on the overarching programme.