Kuwait’s Ministry of Electricity & Water (MEW) is considering plans to retender the long-delayed Al-Zour North power and water scheme as an independent project.

If MEW does choose to retender it would further postpone the scheme, which has already seen several delays since it was first proposed in 2005.

According to a source at the MEW, the decision to retender depends on the progress of another project, Kuwait’s first independent water and power project (IWPP). If the IWPP moves ahead successfully and a new project company is formed, then the Al-Zour North project could be developed using the same model, which would result in a retender.

Graphic: Proposed Al Zour structure

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.

Engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors have been invited to bid by 30 May and a pre-tender meeting was held with the potential bidders on 12 April (MEED 1:3:09).

A total of six companies have prequalified to bid and the government is reviewing prequalification documents from three additional companies.

The Kuwaiti cabinet approved the construction of the power and water plant at the Al-Zour site in September 2009.

If the tender goes ahead on a government-procured basis, the plant is scheduled to start operating in April 2012 and begin operating commercially in April 2013.

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).