A consortium including Spain’s Cobra has been selected as the preferred bidder for a new USD 2bn-plus seawater treatment PPP by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), according to a source familiar with the situation.
The team led by the Spanish engineering group, which France’s Vinci bought from ACS in 2021, also includes Abu Dhabi’s water treatment specialist Metito and Egyptian construction group Orascom, according to the source.
The project entails building a new plant to filter seawater and laying down pipelines to transport the water to ADNOC’s onshore oilfields.
The project will replace the existing water injection systems used for maintaining reservoir pressure in the Abu Dhabi oilfields, which use groundwater rather than seawater, the state-owned oil and gas group said in 2021, when it launched a tender for the scheme.
Cobra was one of 11 lead bidders shortlisted by ADNOC in late 2021 for the deal.
The Cobra team is expected to sign a joint venture with ADNOC to carry out the project under a DBFM contract. ADNOC will buy water from the JV under a long-term agreement.
ADNOC, Cobra, Orascom and Metito did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesperson for Vinci said the company does not comment on ongoing projects.
The project is the latest in a series of deals launched by ADNOC to either sell stakes in its existing infrastructure assets or set up joint ventures with investors to develop new greenfield infrastructure.
Last November, ADNOC’s refining arm agreed to sell a stake in its waste management business in Al Ruways Industrial City to a team of Veolia, ADQ and Vision Invest.
In September 2022, the oil and gas group closed a USD 3.8bn PPP to build power cables connecting its offshore oil and gas platforms with France’s EDF, South Korea’s Kepco and Japan’s Kyushu Electric Power.
In 2020, it also sold a stake in its sprawling gas pipeline business to a team of infrastructure funds led by GIP and Brookfield, following the sale of a stake in its oil pipelines to BlackRock and KKR in 2019.
ADNOC has also been investing in renewable energy recently, buying a minority stake in renewables IPP Masdar last June.