Facility started full commercial operation yesterday

Azzour North One power, water plant construction completed Azzour North One power, water plant construction completed

KUWAIT: Shamal Azzour Al-Oula KSC, the owner and operator of Azzour North One power and water plant, yesterday officially marked completion of the plant's construction phase and announced the commencement of full commercial operation. The $1.7 billion facility that started construction in December 2013 is Kuwait's first independently owned power and water facility, and falls under the first phase of the country's IWPP project. The project was completed on schedule and on budget.

As of yesterday, the project has the capacity to generate 10 percent of Kuwait's power requirements at peak capacity (1,539MW) and 20 percent of water generation (107 million gallons per day). The plant is fueled by a blend of local gas and imported LNG. The combined facility of power and water generation is Kuwait's cleanest and most efficient source of electricity.

Private consortium

Shamal Azzour Al-Oula KSC is 40 percent owned by a private consortium comprising ENGIE (formerly GDF SUEZ), Sumitomo Corporation, and A H Al-Sagar and Brothers. The remaining 60 percent is owned by the Government of Kuwait, through the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA: 5 percent), the Public Institution for Social Security (PIFSS: 5 percent), and Kuwait Authority for Partnership Projects (KAPP: 50 percent). The Government of Kuwait is mandated to sell 50 percent of the total ownership through an Initial Public Offering (IPO) to Kuwaiti citizens after construction is completed. The government will retain 10 percent stake following the IPO.

The power and treated water produced from the plant will be entirely supplied to the country's national power and water grid operated by the Kuwait Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW) under a 40-year long-term Energy Conversion and Water Purchase Agreement (ECWPA). ENGIE and Sumitomo will undertake the operation and maintenance (OandM) of the plant on an equal share basis.

The plant is the first stage of the country's plan to significantly increase capacity over the coming years, and falls within a larger effort to meet an anticipated peak demand of 25 gigawatts (GW) by 2025. It was awarded under the IWPP law and implemented through a process managed by the Kuwait Authority for Partnership Projects. The Plant is part of an overall IWPP located in the Azzour area. The overall IWPP is expected to be developed over five phases, for a total capacity of 4,800 MW of electricity and approximately 280 MIGD of desalinated water to be tendered over a period of four to six years to meet a projected rapid increase in electricity demand, which is expected to increase at a high rate of 7.6 percent per annum until 2020 against the backdrop of fast economic growth.

Living proof

KAAP General Manager Mutlaq Al-Sane said, "Azzour North One project was our first PPP project to be tendered and the first to be completed. All of us at KAAP are extremely proud of this achievement and the transparent and efficient tendering process it involved. Shamal Azzour KSC is living proof of the benefits of PPP model and how the private sector, international partners, and the State can all work together on delivering major infrastructure projects on schedule and on budget for the benefit of the people."

Shamal Azzour KSC Chairman Yousef Al Hajri said, "On behalf our partners, our investors, and everyone working on the project, it gives me great pleasure to announce that as of yesterday Azzour North One is fully operational, with a production capacity of 1,539.2 MW and 107MIGD. The plant is a testament to the country's vision and the private sector's capability in materializing the vision. All of us involved in the project are extremely proud of this achievement."

Shamal Azzour KSC CEO Andy Biffen said, "I would like to thank MEW, KAAP, our EPC contractors Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and Societe Internationale De Dessalement (SIDEM), General Electric, our staff, our shareholders, and everyone who had role in delivering a project of this magnitude on schedule and on budget; reflecting the skills, efficient organization and expertise of all those involved. Yesterday, as we celebrate the 100 percent commercial operation of the plant, we look forward to providing the country with the cleanest and most efficient power in the grid, to extending more opportunities for Kuwaitis, and to operating a safe, efficient environment for our employees."

Shamal Azzour KSC CFO, Quentin des Cressonnieres said, "Shamal Az Zour achievements of the past three years would not have been possible without the Project Finance in place, and the strong support from our Lenders (NBK, JBIC, NEXI, SMBC, Standard Chartered and BTMU) and our Shareholders (ENGIE, Sumitomo, Al Sagar, KAPP, KIA, PIFSS). We also look forward to start the IPO process of 50 percent of the Shares to Kuwaiti Citizens in the coming months (Mid 2017)".