Kuwait’s Electricity & Water Ministry plans to issue a tender for the first phase of the long-delayed Al-Zour North power and water project by mid-February, according to source at the ministry.

The ministry will tender the first of four phases of the Al-Zour North project on an engineering, procurement and construction basis.

“The tender is almost ready,” says the source. “It was supposed to have been issued last week.”

The cabinet approved the construction of a power and water plant at the site in September. The first phase of the plant will have capacity of 1,500MW of power and 102 million gallons a day (g/d) of desalinated water. 

If the tender goes ahead according to the current schedule, the first phase of the plant will start operating in April 2012. It will begin operating commercially in April 2013.

In total, the four phases of the project will add 4,800MW of power and 280 million g/d of desalination capacity.

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 International Company (CCC).

The project at Al-Zour North is going ahead in parallel with an independent water and power project (IWPP), which is also likely to be built at Al-Zour. The Partnerships Technical Bureau, the organisation responsible for supervising the country’s public-private partnership programme, is due to appoint a consultant for that project in the near future.

In mid-January, the bureau narrowed down the shortlist of potential advisers to two consortiums of financial, legal and technical advisers. They are French bank BNP Paribas with US’ law firm Chadbourne & Parke and Germany’s Lahmeyer International; and the UK’s HSBC with UK law firm Norton Rose and Germany’s Fichtner.

The IWPP will have capacity of 1,500MW of power and 100 million g/d of water.

Industry sources have previously suggested that some of the remaining phases of the Al-Zour North scheme could be developed as IWPPs.