Kuwait signs Al-Zour North project agreements

12 December 2013

Financial close expected to follow shortly

Kuwait’s Partnerships Technical Bureau (PTB) has concluded the project agreements covering the construction of the country’s first independent water and power project Al-Zour North Phase 1.

The country has signed an energy conversion and water purchase agreement (ECWPA), also known elsewhere in the region as a power purchase agreement (PPA), with a UK/French GDF Suez-led consortium on 12 December.

It comes close to 12 months after the initial contract covering the construction and operation of the approximately 1,500-megawatt gas-fired combined cycle power and seawater desalination plant was awarded to the consortium.

The $2bn project is the first to be successfully procured by the PTB as part of Kuwait’s public-private partnership (PPP) programme.

The winning consortium includes Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation and local Abdullah Hama al-Sagar & Brothers who combined with GDP Suez hold 40 per cent of the shares in the project company. An additional 10 per cent is being held by Kuwait’s sovereign wealth funds Kuwait Investment Authority and Public Institution for Social Security.

The remaining 50 per cent of the shares were subject to an initial public offering that was fully subscribed earlier this year.

A source tells MEED that the financing agreements for the project are also expected to be signed shortly.

The agreement is seen as a milestone in the development of PPP projects in Kuwait. The Gulf country has previously considered using PPP structures to procure and finance other projects including overland rail and metro developments, although plans have stalled in the past year.

New York-headquartered law firm Chadbourne & Parke, French bank BNP Paribas and Germany’s Lahmeyer International were part of the project’s advisory consortium.

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