Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) has postponed the tender closing date for the contract to build the infrastructure to enable electricity interconnection between Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

The tender extension, attributed to the ongoing new coronavirus outbreak, is for a period of 40–60 days, according to a local media report.

It is understood seven firms had been invited to bid for the contract. They include:

  • El-Sewedy (local)
  • Hyundai (South Korea)
  • Kalpataru (India)
  • KEC International (India)
  • Larsen & Toubro (L&T, India)
  • NCC (India)
  • State Grid (China)

The estimated budget for the interconnection line is $1.6bn, down from the previously reported budget of $2.1bn. Egypt is expected to fund about 40 per cent of the project, with Saudi Arabia scheduled to pay the remaining 60 per cent.

The project aims for daily exchange of 3GW of electricity at peak times.

MEED understands it is the third time the tender closing date has been postponed.

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The report did not specify the new tender closing date.

Previous postponements had been attributed to political upheavals in Egypt and more recently to changes in the interconnection line’s route to accommodate Saudi Arabia’s Neom gigaproject.

EETC head Sabah Mashali had earlier said the contract will be signed by the end of May.

Discussions for an energy exchange infrastructure between the two countries began in 2010, with initial negotiations agreed four years later.

In November 2017, MEED reported that both countries had postponed opening the financial envelopes for the tender until 2018.

Despite initial delays, progress was made on financing the project in 2015. In March 2015, IDB signed an agreement with Egypt’s International Cooperation Ministry for a $200m loan to help fund the power link.

This article is published by MEED, the world’s leading source of business intelligence about the Middle East. MEED provides exclusive news, data and analysis on the Middle East every day. For access to MEED’s Middle East business intelligence, subscribe here