The fate of the 30 million-gallon-a-day (g/d) reverse osmosis (RO) seawater desalination plant project at Shuwaikh has been thrown into doubt after only one company submitted a bid for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract.

South Korea’s Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Company was the sole prequalified contractor to bid by the 27 September deadline on the estimated $200 million-300 million contract. Under the state’s tender laws, major projects must have at least two bidders if they are to proceed, and the Central Tender Committee (CTC) has recommended the tender be cancelled. However, the client, the Energy Ministry, can push ahead with the project if it can demonstrate that it is required urgently, although it has yet to respond to the CTC recommendation.

Nine international contractors were eligible to bid for the scheme following a pre-tender meeting in August.

It is understood that the majority of them did not bid on the grounds that they were not given enough time to submit offers. The tender deadline had originally been extended to the end of October, but was brought forward by a month at short notice (MEED 22:7:05; 10:6:05).

Kuwait is rapidly pushing ahead with increasing its power generation and desalination capacity as its population grows. A tender is expected to be issued imminently for a 1,500-MW power plant at Subiya, with several international contractors including Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the US’ GE Power Systems, Germany’s Siemensand France’s Alstomunderstood to have been prequalified for the EPC and operations and maintenance contracts.