Kuwait has issued a tender for construction of the Al-Zour North power plant, at an estimated KD750 million ($2.7 billion) cost one of the country’s biggest projects. Kuwaiti power demand is increasing at an annual rate of 8 percent. The country needs to raise its power-generation capacity to meet the expansion of residential and other developments and to boost manufacturing and industries such as tourism.

Eleven companies and consortia, including Mitsui & Co, Marubeni Corp, General Electric and GDF Suez, have prequalified to bid for the combined generation power plant, which will have a capacity of 1500 MW and 100 million imperial gallons of water a day, according to Eyad Ali Al-Falah, assistant under-secretary for Technical Services at the Ministry of Electricity and Water.

“It is expected that we choose the preferred bidder by the end of this year,” Al-Falah said. Kuwait’s government “will not hold more than 24 percent” of the company responsible for building the plant, while the “strategic investor won’t hold less than 26 percent,” according to Al-Falah. The remaining 50 percent of the shares will be sold in an initial public offering.

Al-Zour North, to be built in the south of the desert Gulf state, is expected to start operations at the beginning of 2014. It will be the first of five facilities that the authorities want to build in the Zour North area and which will have a combined capacity of 4800 MW and 280 million imperial gallons of water, he said. Four of the plants will produce power and water or just power, while the fifth will be solely for water production.