x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

International Power deal first of a kind in Kuwait

International Power is widely expected to expand its regional footprint with Kuwait's first public-private partnership in the power sector.

International Power, one of the world's biggest private suppliers of electricity and one of the biggest players in the Middle East, is widely expected to expand its regional footprint with Kuwait's first public-private partnership in the power sector.

The Az Zour North power plant will ease Kuwait's chronic shortage of electricity, and help to avoid the power outages that have plagued the country.

For International, a recent merger between the British company of the same name and France's GDF Suez, the proposed deal represents a further increase in the electricity it sells to Gulf governments struggling to keep up with surging demand.

"We are preferred bidders," said Shankar Krishnamoorthy, the chief executive of International Power in the Middle East and Africa. "I would imagine us closing the deal in the months ahead."

Independent power providers have been busy in the region for years.

Abu Dhabi has been an early pioneer of using the private sector to supply electricity.Demand for electricity in the emirate is forecast to rise by an average 13 per cent every year in the next decade.

Dubai will soon award its first contract for an independent power project and a consortium involving the Abu Dhabienergy company Taqa is believed to have submitted the lowest bid in the tendering process.

The Kuwait power plant will bring much needed relief to residents accustomed to sweating through the searing summer heat with only patchy air conditioning.

The plant will provide 1,500 megawatts of power, and have the capacity to desalinate about 100 million imperial gallons a day of seawater. International Power is looking to build the plant by 2015.

For the company, the project will extend the power generation capacity it operates or has under construction to about 90 gigawatts worldwide, of which about 25GW are in the Middle East and North Africa.

fneuhof@thenational.ae