According to the unevaluated bid opening results, Sembcorp submitted the highest offer, at $1,343 million, for the project, just $5 million above Tractebel’s quote of $1,338 million.

Two other developer groups, a Japanese team of Marubeni Corporationand JGC Corporation, and the UK’s International Power(IP) with Japan’s Mitsui & Company, submitted proposals for the project, which entails the developer taking a 40 per cent stake in a new project company to acquire the existing 662-MW, 100 million-gallon-a-day co-generation plant and expanding it on a build-own-operate (BOO) basis by 225 MW.

The request for proposals (RFP) set a levelised electricity cost of AED 0.109 ($0.0297) a kilowatt hour (kWh) and a desalination cost of AED 14.60 ($3.978) per 1,000 gallons. However, Sembcorp applied a levelised electricity price of AED 0.115 ($0.031) and AED 13.40 ($3.651) per 1,000 gallons. ‘At this stage, it is difficult to say whether the difference [in levelised costs] made any difference to the overall bid offered by Sembcorp. Everything will come out in the evaluation,’ said one source close to the project. ‘What is clearer is that ADWEA must be very happy with the turnout and the prices.’

Under its tendering schedule, ADWEA is aiming to shortlist bidders by 10 December, sign the key project agreements in February 2006 and achieve financial close in early May 2006. As part of the tender criteria, all the bidders had in their consortium nominated engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors and the support of bank groups.

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