GCC grid project to start this summer

23 March 2005 – The Gulf Electricity Interconnection grid project will commence this summer with the awarding of engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) and the first phase is set to become operation by mid-2008, Dr Saleh Alawaji, Saudi Arabia’s deputy minister for electricity and chairman of the GCC Interconnection Authority said Monday.

The $1.189bn project will pave the way for the creation of a pan-Arab he said officials said. “The tender documents were issued last month and bids are expected in April and May. Evaluation contract awards will be made in August 2005. Phase one will link Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar, while phase two will link Oman and the UAE.

In the third phase, the two systems will be linked, completing the regional grid.

“Once ready, the grid will serve as the main gateway [for] a pan-Arab power grid. If the GCC grid is linked with the Arab grid, it can be connected to Europe and Africa and enable the GCC countries to export power,” said Alawaji.

The estimated costs of phase two and three are $300m (Dh1.1bn) and $137m (Dh502.7m), respectively. The developments costs of the GCC grid will be shared by all GCC six states, in proportion to the reserve capacity savings. It has been decided the governments of the six states will be responsible for providing their share of the necessary capital in the form of either equity or debt, officials said.