SembCorp signs up for Fujairah IWPP

07 July 2006

The 12-month process to select a foreign developer on the Fujairah independent water and power project (IWPP) has come to an end after Singapore's SembCorp Industries announced on 5 July that its wholly-owned subsidiary SembCorp Utilities had established a new joint venture with Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority to acquire and expand the plant.

SembCorp was selected for the post of foreign shareholder in the new project company, Emirates SembCorp Water & Power Company, having submitted the highest revised price for the project in mid-May. The Fujairah project represents SembCorp's first IWPP in the region (MEED 9:6:06).

SembCorp beat off competition from Belgium's Suez Tractebel to win the project. Through a new subsidiary, SembCorp Gulf Holding Company, it holds a 40 per cent stake in the project company with the remaining 60 per cent held by Taqa, the ADWEA subsidiary.

The new company, which will expand the existing 662-MW, 100 million gallon-a-day (g/d) plant by 225 MW, will supply electricity and water to Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Company (ADWEC) under a 22-year power and purchase agreement (PWPA). The plant will be operated by SembCorp Gulf O&M Company for the duration of the PWPA.

SembCorp was supported by a nominated engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) team of Spain's Iberdrola and Saudi Arabia's Arabian Bemco Contracting for the 225-MW expansion, due to be completed in 2009, and a bank group of Societe Generale and Barclays Capital for the project's financing. SembCorp says that the total project cost of $1,726 million will be funded through a non-recourse loan, an equity bridge loan and the operating cash flows from the existing plant. Financial close is set for October.

The advisory team on the Fujairah IWPP consists of Germany's Fichtner (technical), HSBC (financial), White & Case (international legal) and the local Simmons & Simmons (legal).

Now that ADWEA has signed up a foreign developer for Fujairah, the utility is expected to move swiftly ahead with identifying a site for its next IWPP. Two sites - Fujairah and Shuweihat in western Abu Dhabi - have been under consideration.

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