Feasibility study sought for DRC’s 3,500-MW Inga 3

The World Bank seeks consultants to evaluate the financial feasibility of developing an Inga 3 hydroelectric project, estimated at up to 3,500 MW, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Expressions of interest are due October 22.

The bank said it intends to finance the study under a trust fund from the Private Participation in Infrastructure Advisory Fund. Work includes evaluating the financial feasibility of developing the project at the existing Inga complex on the Congo River, plus a related export transmission network.

The governments of DRC, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa have formed the Western Corridor Power Project (Westcor), which envisions a run-of-river Inga 3 as the first new expansion of an Inga complex that would anchor a grid system to span the continent. (HNN 5/9/06) DRC Energy Minister Salomon Baliene said in June it is time to seek investors to fund a 40,000-MW Inga complex at a cost of US$40 billion. (HNN 6/7/06)

The DRC recently called for consultants to guide the rehabilitation of the existing Inga complex. (HNN 8/29/06) The 350-MW Inga 1 and 1,424-MW Inga 2 plants produce a total of only 500 MW due to lack of maintenance.

In the latest solicitation, consultants would be required to review existing studies on proposed technical dimensions of Inga 3 and the associated transmission system. Bankability of the project would be assessed, including possible support from potential equity investors, direct lenders, export credit agencies, and multi-lateral lenders both for direct lending and guarantees of debt and equity.

The consultant also would be required to propose a project implementation structure, a legal framework, financing strategy, and a plan to develop the project in a manner that promotes the economic and financial interests of the DRC and the development of the region’s power markets. Development of the Inga 3 project itself is to require additional detailed advisory assignments of a similar nature, the World Bank said.

The bank said the consulting team should be led by project finance experts, possibly in association with technical and legal experts.

Expressions of interest must be received by regular mail and, preferably, by electronic mail to the address below by October 22. For information, contact World Bank, Africa Energy Group (AFTEG), Attn.: Philippe Charles Benoit and Pankaj Gupta, 1818 H St., N.W., Washington, DC 20433 U.S.A.; (1) 202-458-1779, 473-6188; E-mail: pbenoit@worldbank.org, pgupta2@worldbank.org.

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