SNC’s bid, worth $159 million, was about 10 per cent lower than that of its nearest rival, a consortium of Italy’s Astaldiwith the local ERTHB Haddad. France’s Vinci, with Societe National de Genie Civil & Batiment ( GCB), the wholly owned subsidiary of state energy company Sonatrach, was close behind. A consortium of Turkey’s Mapa, Heitkamp of Germany and the local Kou was the other bidder.

The contract involves the construction of a pipeline between the 80 million-cubic-metre-capacity Tichi Haf dam and Bejaia, about 200 kilometres east of Algiers, with intermediate distribution points every 10 kilometres. Bids have been submitted as a combination of euros and Algerian dinars, using an exchange rate of Eur 1=AD 89. The successful bidder is expected to be announced in early 2005, with construction due to begin in the second quarter.

A consortium led by Turkey’s Eser, along with Heitkamp and Kou, was in September awarded the $120 million contract for work on the Mostaganem-Arzew-Oran (MAO) dam project. Invitations to bid have also been launched for two further contracts on the MAO project, involving the construction of a water pipeline and a water treatment plant.