The client is the state-owned Algerian Energy Company (AEC). In the initial designs, the plant was to have a capacity of 130,000-150,000 cubic metres a day (cm/d). The proposed capacity was later raised to 200,000 cm/d. The plant is aimed at tackling the problem of severe water shortages in the capital.

The project will be carried out on the basis of the successful bidder forming a joint venture development company with AEC and the water offtaker, Algerienne des Eaux. The two local partners will each hold 30 per cent.

It is not clear whether AEC will grant Ansaldo some leeway with regard to the bid bond question. If not, project sources say it would be difficult to proceed on the basis of just one bid, as this would contravene tender regulations.

So far only the technical offers have been opened.