Sumitomo consortium gets Ras Azzour approval

After complaining about premature announcements of its preferred bidder, Saudi Arabia’s Water & Electricity Company (WEC) finally confirmed at the end of October that the consortium of Sumitomo Corporation/Aljomaih Automotive Co/Malakoff International was its First Ranked Bidder for the Ras Azzour independent water & power plant (IWPP).

The consortium was one of three groups bidding to build, own and operate the 850-1100 MW power station and 1 million m³/d desalination plant. The others were ACWA Power Projects/Kepco and Suez Tractabel/Marubeni Corporation.

The Sumitomo bid was for 10 units using multi-stage flash (MSF) and reverse osmosis and a levelised water cost of SR 4.14 (US$ 1.1) /m³. The Suez bid was based on 20 multi-effect distillation units and the ACWA bid on 11 MSF units. Suez offered the lowest levelised water cost at SR 3.62 (US$ 0.96) /m³, but had a much higher electricity cost.

WEC will now enter into a period of negotiations with the leading bidder. Under the original schedule, WEC envisaged signing the power and water purchase agreement with the project company by the end of 2008 and achieving the closing date by 15 February 2009.