The cabinet approved on 10 September the construction of two new power stations at an estimated cost of KD 683 million ($2,200 million). The plants will be the first to be built since the Gulf war in 1991: the 2,400-MW Subiya station, which is nearing completion, was begun prior to the Iraqi invasion.

The larger of the two proposed plants is the estimated KD 553 million ($1,800 million) AlZour north project, which will have an installed capacity of 2,500 MW. The steam turbine plant is scheduled to begin production in the second half of 2006.

The Ministry of Electricity & Water (MEW) is considering the option of awarding the project on a build-operate (BO) basis. ‘There is a possibility that Al-Zour may go on a BO basis.

We will work out a minimum cost for power generation on a kWh basis. If the bidders’ prices are lower, we may go for it, ‘ a MEW official says.

The second plant, to be gas-based, will generate 800 MW. It will require an investment of KD 133 million ($420 million) and is targeted to go on stream from mid-2003.

The location of the power plant has still to be decided. ‘We are looking at Shuaiba, as there is land available at the site. But a final decision has yet to be taken, ‘ says the official.

Shuaiba is the location for the 400-MW north station, which was badly damaged during the Gulf war and has still to be rehabilitated. An alternative for MEW is to meet the 800-MW target by building two 400-MW plants in the state.

Over the past decade, the government has discussed implementing several new power station projects, although none has proceeded beyond the planning stage. In 1996, MEW dropped plans to renovate the Shuaiba north plant on a BO basis in preference for a new 2,400-MW plant at Al-Zour, which was to be built by a US contractor. However, despite five US firms bidding for the consultancy contract, it was never awarded (MEED 27:2:97).