The submission of bids worth almost $12bn for the main packages on Kuwaits Clean Fuels Project (CFP) shows the country is finally ready to deliver on its development plans and become a key projects market in the region. With awards planned in the first quarter of 2014, the three packages stand to be some of the largest ever awarded to firms in the region.
The numerous delays that have stifled progress on the CFP to date represent a familiar story in Kuwait over the past 20 years, with the country falling well behind some of its Gulf neighbours in terms of infrastructure development. With the government and parliament locked in a fractious relationship, pushing ahead with major schemes has proven difficult.
However, the final months of 2013 have seen Kuwaits major government clients progress with some of the regions largest planned projects. Earlier in December, Kuwaits Partnerships Technical Bureau (PTB) signed the deals for Al-Zour North, the countrys first independent water and power project (IWPP), another key scheme that has suffered numerous delays. This week, the PTB has invited interest in the Al-Khiran IWPP, which will further boost the countrys power and water capacities.
The largest new project planned to be tendered in 2014, however, is the much-delayed $15bn New Refinery Project, which contractors hope will find momentum once the CFP is awarded. While heavy investment is required in Kuwaits infrastructure, the immediate and mid-term future of its economy is dependent on these major energy schemes. With the first steps towards executing these projects having been made, the onus is on the government to award and sign deals as soon as possible.