Following a year-long pre-qualification stage, the Bulgarian Ministry of Energy has announced the five candidates short-listed as strategic investors in the Belene Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) project.
According to the official statement from Bulgarian Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova, the shortlisted candidates are: China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP), Atomenergoprom, a subsidiary company of the Russian state nuclearcorporation Rosatom, Framatome (France) and General Electric (US).
The selection rationale of the shortlist was explained by the Ministry of Energy as based on experience, financial stability and the credit rating of the applicants. The process aimed at identifying the best suited candidates among the thirteen companies that expressed interest in the project.
The other strategic investor applicants included Bektron-Liaz-Technical Engineering Company (Germany), Consortium AEC Belene (comprising of Atomenergoremont, UZK, Grand Yednerzhi and Kvant), Consortium Atomna Power Centre Belene 2019 (comprising of Group International (Bulgaria) and Vitkovice Heavy Machinery (Czech Republic), and the Bulgarian companies IPK and UP.
Another four companies submitted bids for minority shareholders and through power-purchase agreements.
CNNC, Rosatom and KHNP were chosen for the role of potential strategic investors in Belene NPP. The interest stated by General Electric in project financing, design and equipment supply: turbine control room, compressors, transformers and others had put the company in the shortlist. The indicative offer of Framatome included structuring of project finance for safety and control systems.
In compliance with the selection process announced in May 2019, the Ministry of Energy has sent letters to the shortlisted bidders and all five of them have received the letters until 31 January 2020. KHNP sent clarifying questions necessary for the company to make a final decision on going on with Belene NPP.
Separate minority shareholder applications will be submitted to potential strategic investors, but each of the companies can enter into negotiations with the others.
As published on the official website of the Ministry of Energy, the companies will be invited to sign a confidentiality agreement. They will be provided with the information memorandum, and be given access to an information room at National Electric Company EAD containing details on the project. The indicative term for the selected companies to file the binding offers is 31 May 2020.
Meanwhile, the licensing of Belene NPP is still in progress. The National Electric Company EAD has received the necessary instructions from the Bulgarian Nuclear Regulatory Agency and the procedure is expected to take several months.
For more information on this eAlert and opportunities in Bulgaria's energy sector, contact your regular CMS advisor or local CMS experts: Kostadin Sirleshtov and Elena Yotova-Yordanova.