SNC-Lavalin, a global construction and project management group, said it has been awarded a four-year project management office (PMO) and engineering design review services contract by the Saudi Electric Company and The Egyptian Electricity Transmission Corporation to support the Saudi-Egypt power grids interconnection project.

The first large-scale high-voltage direct current (HVDC) interconnection in the Middle East and North Africa region, the project is being set up at an investment of $1.8 billion.

SNC-Lavalin’s PMO mandate includes supervising the design and execution of the project, and involves supervision of contractors throughout the engineering, construction and commissioning phases.

The project will be led by the company’s regional expertise in the Middle East and supported by its global HVDC Center of Excellence in Canada.

“For more than half a century, SNC-Lavalin has established a proven track record in the clean power market by delivering some of the most complex HVDC interconnection projects around the world,” remarked Ian L Edwards, the President and CEO of SNC-Lavalin.

The region’s top HVDC interconnection will extend 1,300 km from the Egyptian capital Cairo to the Saudi city of Madinah, with an intermediate point located in Tabuk city.

Given the long distance involved and the fact that the two countries use different electric frequencies, the interconnection will use HVDC technology to allow for total control of the power flow in either direction.

Once complete, the Saudi-Egypt interconnection project will allow the two countries to exchange up to 3 GW of electricity at peak times, powering upward of 20 million people.