Four groups bid to build Argentina’s 637-MW Chihuido 1 hydro project

Argentine officials from several agencies opened financial proposals October 8 from four consortia bidding to construct the 637-MW Chihuido 1 hydroelectric project on the Neuquen River in Argentina’s Neuquen Province.

Argentina’s federal planning ministry, Ministerio de Planification Federal, Inversion Publicas y Servicios requested technical and financial bids for the work April 23. Four groups of 16 companies — 11 of them from Argentina — submitted financial bids after pre-qualification based on the technical bids.

The ministry said the bids, listed lowest to highest, were:

  • Power Construction Corp. of China (PowerChina) – HydroChina Corp. – Rovella Carranza SA – CPC SA – Holdec Inversor SA, including a letter of discount, 11.88 billion pesos (US$1.4 billion) and 116.8 percent financing;
  • Industrias Metalurgicas Pescarmona SA (IMPSA), 11.99 billion pesos (US$1.41 billion);
  • Electroingenieria SA – China Gezhouba Group – Hidrocuyo SA, 13.8 billion pesos (US$1.6 billion);
  • Helport SA – Panedile Argentina SAICFel – Isolux Ingenieria SA – Eleprint SA – Chediack SAIC – Hidroelectrica Ameghino, 14.9 billion pesos (US$1.7 billion).

An evaluation committee is to determine the winning bidder.

Chihuido 1 involves the construction of a 105-foot-tall dam across the Neuquen River and a hydro plant with four 159.25-MW Francis turbines. A reservoir is to be constructed for flood control, drinking water, irrigation and industrial water. A 130-kilometer transmission line is to connect the facility to the national grid.

Five groups submitted expressions of interest to build the then-478-MW project in 2009. However, Neuquen Province, which sponsored the initial solicitation, canceled it for failure to meet requirements to carry out the work.

Argentina’s Ministerio de Planification Federal, Inversion Publicas y Servicios now seeks bids to construct the project over four years at an estimated cost of US$2.1 billion. Ministry officials previously promoted the project in a development road show to Russia, China and Brazil.

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