Sunday, May 3, 2009

Egypt invites WorleyParsons as Bechtel talks stall

CAIRO, May 3 (Reuters) - Egypt will invite Australia's WorleyParsons to negotiate terms for a nuclear power plant consultancy after talks with tender-winner Bechtel Power Corp stalled, state news agency MENA said on Sunday.

WorleyParsons had come in second to U.S.-based Bechtel Power Corp in a tender by Egypt's ministry of electricity and energy to consult on the country's first nuclear power plant, a ministry official said in remarks cited by MENA.

The agency gave no reason for why talks with Bechtel had foundered.

Egypt said in October 2007 it would build several civilian nuclear power stations to meet its growing energy needs, and Egypt has nuclear cooperation offers from China, Russia, France and Kazakhstan.

If talks with WorleyParsons are successful, the company would choose the technology and the site for the reactors, ensure quality control for the project, train personnel to run the power plant, and provide other technical services, MENA reported, quoting the ministry official.

The company would also supervise design and construction and early test-runs.

Bechtel had offered to do the work for around 1 billion Egyptian pounds ($177.6 million) over a 10-year period, the ministry had said at the time.

Egypt ratified the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1981 but said last year it would not sign on to an additional protocol that would give the U.N. nuclear watchdog the right to make intrusive short-notice inspections of nuclear facilities. ($1 = 5.6318 Egyptian pounds).