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* The first four major desal projects in Spain’s Programa Agua have been awarded to consortia with strong local connections.

Despite fears of Koreans and Israelis breaking into their home market, only one foreign company – Degrémont – came away with a deal. Degrémont teamed up with sister company Aguas de Barcelona and ACS’ Dragados and Drace to win the tender for the 164,400m3/d Barcelona plant. Otherwise, all the major Spanish desalters were rewarded: Acciona, with the 220,000m3/d Torrevieja plant; Cadagua and Sadyt with the 110,000m3/d Aguilas/Guadalentin project; and Aqualia SPA and Befesa with the 60,000m3/d Bajo Almanzora plant.

* Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Water and Electricity inked four consultancy contracts for Riyadh’s water and wastewater privatisation at a ceremony on 22 July. Lead advisor Fichtner has subcontracted financial advisory to PricewaterhouseCoopers; Halcrow is technical consultant; Ernst & Young is HR consultant; and Clifford Chance continues to build on its relationship with Saudi firm the Law Firm of Yousef and Mohammed Al-Jadaan as they take responsibility for legal advisory. At the same ceremony, ILF Consulting was awarded an additional contract to conduct a feasibility study for a 400,000m3/d BOT WwTP in Riyadh. The contracts are worth in the region of $6.2 million.

* Over in Oman, bid envelopes were opened on 24 July for the 70,000m3/d Sur SWRO. Of the 6 prequalified bidders, only two consortia submitted bids. Veolia and BEC (Bahwan Engineering Company – part of the local business house Suhail Bahwan Group) are up against UDCH and GE. Similarly- named UDC (Utilities Development Company) was a special purpose vehicle established by Kharafi Group and GE Ionics. Its past works include the Sulaibiya wastewater reclamation plant in Kuwait. The new consortium retains the same relationships but UDCH is 100% owned by Kharafi. Should the UDCH/GE consortium win the contract, Kharafi will be responsible for the EPC, with GE the operations & maintenance of the plant. Four other prequalified groups, AES Corporation/AES Oasis, Marubeni Corporation, Palm Water and SembCorp Utilities did not submit.