Tunisia’s Industry, Energy & Small & Medium Enterprises Ministry has delayed the deadline for bids to build the planned Bizerte independent power project (IPP).

The tender process for the power project has seen a series of delays. The original bid submission date of 29 January was pushed back to 30 April (MEED 12:1:10), which has now been postponed to 31 May.

A total of four groups are preparing to bid. The ministry originally prequalified five bidders in the summer of 2009, but two of the firms, the UK’s International Power and Japan’s Marubeni Corporation, have since decided to bid as a team.

The other three teams are Japan’s Mitsui & Company; Malaysia’s Powertek with Germany’s Siemens; and France’s GdF Suez.

The 350-500MW Bizerte IPP is scheduled to come online in 2014. The winning bidder will develop the project on a build-own-operate basis under a 20-year concession.

The developer will have the option to double the capacity of the plant at a later date. State utility Societe Tunisienne de l’Electricite et du Gaz (Steg) will buy the plant’s output.

Tunisia is simultaneously tendering another IPP at Elmed. A request for qualification (RFQ) for the 1,200MW project was issued at the end of April. Interested parties have until 26 July to respond (MEED 26:4:10).