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Multibillion dollar power grid project to be put up for tender by end of year

A multibillion-dollar power grid linking the six GCC countries is up for tender this year

A multibillion-dollar power grid linking the six Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries will be offered for tender before the end of 2004, after the authorities in the countries involved agreed on the financing for the giant project.

Work on the project, which was approved by the GCC leaders at a summit in Kuwait in 1997, is expected to commence in early 2005 to harness extra power in each Gulf state and provide adequate, reliable power to the region.

Ministers of the respective water and electricity boards of the countries involved have opted for a new method of financing the project, which when complete in 2008, will cost more than US $6 billion.

The project will be divided into three phases. The first phase, costing about $1.25 billion, will link power grids in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar. The second phase, which is already underway, is between the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

The third phase of the development will bring the grids together, saving more than five billion megawatts (MW) in wasted electricity, worth an estimated $3.5 billion.

It has been agreed that the different GCC states will finance the project by paying 35% of their shares from their own budgets and the rest will be financed purely by private loans gathered by the countries individually

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