Union Railway is delaying the start of the prequalification process for construction contracts on the first phase of Abu Dhabi’s $11bn railway network.

Prequalification documents [for the first phase of the railway] were originally expected to be issued in July

Prequalification documents were originally expected to be issued in July, however the new due date is still not decided.

“Dates will change from time to time and that is very normal in a very dynamic project. However, we are making good progress and we will be making announcements about the various stages of the procurement process when appropriate,” says a spokeswoman for Union Railway.

Contractors interested in bidding for the construction contracts expect to be invited to prequalify in due course.

The first phase of the railway involves the construction of a 265-kilometre line to connect the Shah gas field in the south of the emirate with oil and gas processing facilities at Habshan in the southwest and will be used to transport 10,000 tonnes a day (t/d) of granulated sulphur.  A later phase of the project will go on to connect Habshan with distribution facilities at the port of Ruwais in the Western Region and will be used to transport 20,000 t/d of sulphur

Union Railway asked banks to submit bids by 4 August for the financial advisory deal (MEED 5:8:10). This contract is a short-term contract to cover some preliminary work on structuring the railway project to appeal to private sector financiers and developing a funding strategy for the project.

Aside from this deal, Union Railway has two tenders out including one to carry out a safety, risk, security and independent safety assessment (ISA). This contract is due to be awarded in September. The second tender involves carrying out a study into the impact and mitigation of the dune sand. This deal is due to be awarded in August.

Union Railway is also tendering the advanced works contract and the civil and track works deal, both of which are scheduled to be awarded in January 2011.

US-based Bechtel says it has completed its technical services contract for the planning and concept design of Abu Dhabi’s railway network and its staff is now being demobilised.