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Kuwait’s $1.2bn solar project to be tendered in 2018

by Baset Asaba on Aug 16, 2017

A solar park in UAE
A solar park in UAE

Kuwait is looking to issue a tender for the building of the estimated $1.2bn Dibdibah solar-power plant in the first quarter of 2018 as part of the country’s plans to produce 15% of power from renewable energy by 2030, according to a Bloomberg report.

OPEC’s fifth-biggest oil producer set a Sept. 7 deadline for companies to express interest in the 1GW (gigawatt) project, Shukri AbdulAziz Al-Mahrous, deputy chief executive officer of planning and finance at Kuwait National Petroleum Co., said in an interview at the company’s headquarters south of Kuwait City.

The cost will be about $1.2 billion, he said. Dibdibah will produce half of the country’s planned renewable energy output, he said.

Building solar plants is part of government efforts to help the environment while benefiting from increased production of petrochemicals and refined products. Kuwait pumped 2.7 million barrels of crude a day in July, less than Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran and the United Arab Emirates, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“By freeing up the resources, the crude and fuel oil, you can process them and have a highly valued product,” Al-Mahrous told Bloomberg. “Everything you don’t use has value for the country.”

The 32-square-kilometer (12.3-square-mile) plant, which should be completed by the end of 2020 in Kuwait’s northwest, will save burning 5.2 million barrels of oil a year and reduce carbon emissions by 1.3 million tons annually, Al-Mahrous said.

Kuwait consumes at most 14 gigawatts of electricity a day, usually in the summer when temperatures can top 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit), according to the Ministry of Electricity & Water. Capacity is 17 gigawatts. The oil industry is the biggest user of power in the country and plans to cover 15 percent of its energy from renewables by 2020, beating the national target by 10 years, Al-Mahrous said.

Kuwait is building a 615,000 barrel-a-day refinery, a petrochemical plant and a receiving terminal for liquefied natural gas at Al-Zour on the Persian Gulf coast, reported Bloomberg. The refinery will mainly produce low-sulfur fuel oil for use in power plants. Kuwait is also upgrading its two existing refineries, known as the clean fuels project. That will allow for more products to be exported, Al-Mahrous said.


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