Kuwait’s Partnerships Technical Bureau (PTB) and the Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW) are still negotiating the development strategy for the proposed 3,000MW Al-Khiran Independent Water and Power Project (IWPP).

The discussions centre around the number of phases over which the project will be developed. The Al-Khiran IWPP will have a generating capacity of 3,000MW and a desalination capacity of 125 million gallons a day (g/d). The plant is one of a programme of planned projects that will boost Kuwait’s generating capacity from 14,000MW to 31,000MW by 2023.

“We are in discussions on whether it will be developed in one or two phases,” said Mohammed Boshehri, assistant undersecretary of the MEW, speaking at Siemen’s Road to Daegu roundtable discussion in Abu Dhabi on 4 September.

In January, the PTB awarded a consortium comprising UK/French company GDF Suez, Japan’s Sumitomo and Kuwait’s AH Sagar & Brothers Group the contract to build Kuwait’s first IWPP, the Al-Zour North project.

The PTB initially selected the consortium as the preferred bidder for Al-Zour North in February 2012, but the project stalled when Kuwait’s National Assembly voted to scrap the scheme a few months later, in June.

Despite the vote by the National Assembly, the consortium was awarded the contract in January. It had submitted the lowest bid, with an annual equivalent payment (AEP) value – the yearly payment to the developer over the lifetime of the project – of KD127.1m ($453m).

The group will design, finance, build, operate and maintain the plant, which will have a power capacity of 1,500MW and desalinate 102-107 million g/d of water. At least 400MW of power is planned to come online no later than 15 February 2014, followed by 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 feedstock and gas oil as back-up fuel. All feedstock will be provided by MEW.

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 will not exceed 25 per cent of the total desalination capacity.

Financing is yet to close for the Al-Zour North project. A special-purpose vehicle will be established as a Kuwaiti public joint stock company, with 40 per cent owned by the consortium. The remainder will be held by a combination of Kuwaiti public entities directly and Kuwaiti nationals.

The Al-Zour North IWPP has long been viewed by those in Kuwait’s projects and finance sectors as a key development for Kuwait’s ambitious Public Private Partnership (PPP) programme. As the PTB’s first project, it is regarded as a catalyst for the rest of the country’s planned schemes, which require private investment.

In April, Kuwait announced it was pushing ahead with Al-Zour North 2 IWPP and invited companies to express interest in the scheme.

The second phase will involve building a combined power and desalination plant with a power generation capacity of 1,500MW and a water desalination capacity of 102 million g/d. The plant will have the same capacities as the first phase.