Is Kuwait ready to ditch landmark solar project?

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A report on a Middle Eastern business news wire has stated the Kuwaiti government could be set to abandon a long-delayed, landmark solar project.

The Zawya Middle Eastern portal operated by New York-based business news service Refinitiv on Sunday reported the “Dabdaba” solar project – which “will produce 1.5 GW of electricity” – could be abandoned altogether as the bank guarantees of the four shortlisted bidders who took part in the original tender are due to expire next week.

The Zawya report, which was based on an article run by Kuwaiti daily newspaper Al Rai, quoted a source at state-owned tendering authority Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) as saying: “KNPC is awaiting response from the government after a long delay in the execution of this vital project … it could either award it to the lowest bidder or re-tender it to save funds, given technological advancements in this industry … There is also a possibility the project could be cancelled altogether.”

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The tender for engineering, procurement and construction and operations and maintenance services at the project attracted a lowest bid of KWD439 million ($1.43 billion), according to Zawya, which did not name the entity which offered that price.

LeAnn Graves, in an article for pv magazine about Gulf solar projects, reported the latest postponement to the tender was announced by KNPC in August, with the oil company stating an intent to try again with a new procurement exercise. pv magazine has previously described the “Dibdibah” solar project as having a planned generation capacity of 1 GW, being able to generate 2.5 GWh per year and having a contract value of $1.2 billion.

pv magazine has contacted KNPC for an update on the progress of the tender.