The next step in the project’s implementation will be the signing of the key project documents between ADWEA and the 50:50 venture. This is expected to take place by the end of January. Financial close on the $300 million project will follow about three months later.

As on ADWEA’s independent water and power projects (IWPPs), the foreign joint venture will take a 40 per cent stake in a new project company, which will build, own, operate and finance the 50 million-gallon-a-day (mg/d) facility. The remaining 60 per cent will be held by ADWEA. The Mitsui/Vivendi bid was supported by a bank group made up of ANZ Investment Bankand Credit Lyonnnais.

One other company, France’s Ondeowas competing for the award.

The RO plant will take advantage of spare capacity at Taweelah in the winter months, when electricity demand can be as low as 35 per cent of the peak summer level. The UK’s Mott MacDonaldhas been acting as technical adviser to ADWEA on the project; the financial adviser is Citibank.