Kuwait’s Ministry of Electricity & Water (MEW) has delayed the deadline for bids to build the first phase of its long-delayed Al-Zour North power and water project.

According to MEW, the closing date of 30 May has been extended to 27 June following requests from three companies for an extension.

The cut-off date may also be delayed as the ministry considers whether to retender the project as an independent water and power project (IWPP).

If the decision is taken to do so, the government would retain a 24 per cent share of the new IWPP project company, while a stake of no less than 26 per cent would be sold off in a public bidding process and 50 per cent would be available in shares to the public.

If Al-Zour North project progresses in its current form as a traditional government-procured project, it will be built on a design, build, operate and maintain basis. The winning bidder would build the first 1,500MW phase of the project.

A total of six companies have been prequalified to bid. The Kuwaiti cabinet approved the construction of the power and water plant at the Al-Zour site in September 2009.

The ministry has tendered a project at Al-Zour North before, but this was later cancelled because of limited interest from bidders.

The client prequalified seven companies to bid for the scheme in December 2005, but just one bid was submitted for the 2,500MW steam plant by the deadline the following year. The bidding group was made up of the US’ Washington Group International, South Korea’s Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Company and Athens-based Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC).