The Japanese–US alliance of Marubeni Corporation and BPU Ventures has emerged as the top bidder for Abu Dhabi’s fifth independent water and power project, the (estimated) $950 million Taweelah B Extension. The Tractebel-International Power consortium came a close second.

The bids were were opened on 11 July by the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority following a postponement of the final bids submission from 21 June.

The Request for Proposals was issued in January and more than a dozen companies submitted their statements of qualifications to Adwea. Of the three prequalified bidders, Marubeni/BPU’s offer was $1.69bn while Tractabel/IP’s was $1.59bn. Total with its partner Tepco bid $1.334bn.

The selected developer will take over the existing Taweelah B plant, which has a power generation capacity of 1000 MW and desalinates 90 MIGD of water, and expand it by adding 1000 MW of power and 65 MIGD.

The bids will now be evaluated in detail since they are competitively priced and this will take time, according to Adwea sources. There may be a further shortlisting of the two most favoured bidders (as has happened with previous IWPPs) to be followed by detailed discussions leading up to a final selection, which is expected to take place by the end of the summer.

Germany’s Fichtner is the technical advisor for the project and HSBC is acting as financial advisor. Although the exact cost of the project will not be known until the final selection is made, industry sources believe it to be about $950 m. Meanwhile, banks are queuing up behind the developers to finance the project. Financing is likely to be a combination of debt and equity, a similar arrangement to Abu Dhabi’s existing IWPPS. An Islamic consortium is expected to be part of the debt financing.