A Joint venture of Impregilo and OAS has been awarded a contract for the civils works on the Estreito hydro power project in Brazil.

The contract value is approximately Euro 230M (US$326M), and the award was made by concessionaire Consorcio Estreito Energia (Ceste).

Estreito is being built on the Tocantins river between the states of Tocantins and Maranhao, and will have an installed capacity of 1087MW. The project involves construction of a 60m high by 540m long concrete dam.

In a statement regarding the award of the civils contract, Impregilo said the work is due to be completed in the second half of 2010.

Partners in Ceste are Suez Energy South America Particpacoes, Companhia Vale do Rio Doce, Alcoa Alluminio, and Camargo Correa Energia. The concession was awarded in 2002 after an auction by the national regulator Aneel, but the development was slightly delayed by some opposition.

In the middle of this year the block on the construction of the project was suspended by the federal government’s legal agency AGU. Concerns by some agencies about provisions for indigenous peoples had led to the legal block after the project won a preliminary environmental licence earlier this year.

AGU had the block set aside through the regional federal court, which also heeded the country’s energy shortage. In its argument, the agency said that construction activity would not cause irreparable damage and that mitigation measures had been identified in environmental audits.