Five consortiums are expected to submit bids to build Kuwait’s first independent water and power project (IWPP) by the 27 September bid deadline.

The five groups are:

  • Acwa Power (Saudi Arabia), GIC (local), Samsung C&T (South Korea)
  • Malakoff International (Malaysia), SK Group (South Korea) and National Industries Group (Kuwait)
  • Mitsui (Japan), Kharafi Group (Kuwait) and Ahmadiah (Kuwait)
  • Marubeni (Japan) and Alghanim (Kuwait)
  • Sumitomo (Japan), IP-GDF Suez (UK/France) and AH Sagar & Brother Group (Kuwait)

A sixth bid may also be submitted by a local company. All Kuwaiti companies were automatically prequalified to bid for the project.

A preferred bidder is expected to be named in November and financial close is scheduled for May 2012.

The project is sponsored by the Partnership Technical Bureau (PTB) and will be built at a site in Al-Zour North. It will have a capacity of 1,500MW of power and between 102-107 million gallons a day (g/d) of desalinated water. The winning bidder will construct the project on a design, finance, build, operate and maintain basis.

The project is required to successfully achieve early power of at least 200MW, by no later than 31 December 2013. At least 400MW is to come online no later than 15 February 2014 and at least 600MW by 31 March 2014. The project is to enter commercial operation by 31 May 2015.

The project will use natural gas as its main fuel and gas oil as back-up fuel. Gas and gas oil will be provided by the Electricity and Water Ministry. The desalination plant will use either a 100 per cent thermal process or a hybrid process. In the case of a hybrid solution, the capacity of the reverse osmosis plant is not to exceed 25 per cent of the total desalination capacity.

A special-purpose vehicle will be established as a Kuwaiti Public Joint Stock Company with 40 per cent owned by the successful bidder. The remainder will be held by a combination of Kuwaiti public entities directly and Kuwaiti nationals.

Kuwait has adopted the IWPP model for all its future power and water schemes over 500MW and is already planning four more projects at the Al-Zour North site.

Phase two is to have the same capacity in both power and water as phase one. Phase three will add 800MW in power capacity and 50 million g/d, phase four will add 1,000MW and phase five will add 25 million g/d of water capacity to the site. Phases 1 and 2 are expected to be fired on natural gas with gas oil as a back-up fuel.

The PTB is advised by France’s BNP Paribas, US law firm Chadbourne & Parke and Germany’s Lahmeyer International.