Saudi Arabia, Egypt to invite bids for $1.6bln power link project in March

GE has already completed new substation in Cairo for the future Egypt-Saudi Arabia 3000MW power link-up.

(BE2C2 Report): Saudi Arabia and Egypt will issue invitation for bids (IFB) for a project to link the electricity grids of both countries in March, a Saudi newspaper reported on Monday.

The Egypt-Saudi Arabia Interconnection Project aims to connect the electricity grids of the two neighboring countries to create more flexibility in the regional electricity market. Upon completion, Egypt and Saudi Arabia will have the capacity to exchange 3000MW of electricity.

As electricity demand peaks at different times in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the interconnection project could help stabilize both markets, according to Amwal Al Ghad (Oil & Gas).

The $1.6 billion project, which has been on the cards for nearly five years, would have a capacity of transmit enough electricity to power 3 million homes. It will be completed in 2020, the Arabic language daily Al-Madina said, quoting Egyptian Electricity Minister Mohammed Shaker.

“The tender for this important project between Egypt and Saudi Arabia will be issued in March,” Shaker told an investment conference in Cairo on Sunday.

According to reports, five companies are interested in the overall project. They are Alsthom, ABB, Siemens, GE and State Grid of China.

A wellknown Saudi-based Pakistani power professional Engr. Kashif Bajwa who’s also a SEC-approved EPC contractor said, “The Saudi-Egypt DC transmission line is one of the unique projects connecting energy grid station between two countries. DC transmission lines are very efficient on distances typically beyond 500km distance and suitable to connect countries and may form the backbone of future energy network similar to the internet for communication.” Future renewable electricity generation in KSA will also utilize this upcoming regional power connectivity, he added.

Egypt would contribute about $600 million towards the total cost of the High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission line project. The Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, Islamic Development Bank, and the resources of the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company, will contribute to the project’s funding along with the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development.

Saudi officials have said earlier that the 1,300-kilometer, 500 kV DC line will start at Badr in Egypt, pass through the Northwestern Saudi town of Tabuk and end at the Western Medina city.

The project consists of five packages, the first includes building of two HVDC 500 kV converter stations with power transformers and associated electrical equipment in Badr city, Saudi Arabia.

In the final stage, the switching stations of the two states will be connected using ground cables laid along Egyptian and Saudi territories, as well as a 16 km marine cable of 500 kV traveling through Al-Aqaba Gulf.

Prysmian Group had earlier won the bid for the transmission cables project. The results have been sent to the Saudi officials, Daily News Egypt reported.

Prysmian will connect two switch stations in Egypt and Saudi Arabia in addition to a submarine cable of 500 kV that is to cross the Gulf of Aqaba with a length of 16 km.

In November 2017, US-based industrial giant GE announced that it has completed building and connecting the Badr substation in Egypt to the national grid; the Badr substation is located in the north-eastern Cairo Governorate, for the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC).

The statement said the substation will connect 1.5 GW, or 50 percent of the interconnection project’s total exchange capacity.

The Badr turnkey substation, which came online end of September 2017, will play a strategic role in the upcoming Egypt – Saudi Arabia Interconnection.

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