Kuwait’s Al-Zour North independent water and power project (IWPP) is on track to reach financial close by the end of this year, according to the head of the Partnerships Technical Bureau (PTB).

“Al-Zour North will reach financial close by the end of December,” said PTB president Adel al-Roumi at the MEED PPP Projects in Kuwait conference on 7 November.

The scheme is the first in a raft of projects planned by the PTB, the government body established to deliver Kuwait’s PPP projects. Its success is considered vital for building confidence and testing new regulations before the rest of the PPP programme in Kuwait can move forward.

Development of the project has not been easy though. In June, the National Assembly voted against the award of the Al-Zour North project to a consortium led by the UK/French IP-GDF Suez and Japan’s Sumitomo. That award is understood to be imminent.

The PTB is planning around 30 private sector projects including another IWPP, a solar power project, a metro, and a hospital. On the Al-Zour North project, the PTB is being advised by France’s BNP Paribas, the US’ Chadbourne & Parke, and Germany’s Lahmeyer International.