The low emissions, gas-fired power plant is scheduled for completion by May 31 and is expected to be operational in six months Â– much faster than average construction times for similar power plants of its kind Â– and is designed to ensure a dependable power supply to Kuwait during peak summer months.
Many Persian Gulf countries, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, are experiencing significant growth and development Â– more than their existing power network can handle. With a rise in electricity brownouts and blackouts, the Middle East has an immediate need for additional power generation and is planning a regional electricity grid. In bidding for major overseas energy projects, Houston companies, such as HPI and S&W, benefit from having direct access to local industry resources and equipment, and the cityÂ’s major international port operations.
Â“The Texas Gulf Coast, Houston in particular, is increasingly playing a major role in the emergence of new energy projects in the Middle East and the Shuwaikh Power Plant project is one example of that,Â” said Hal Pontez, president of HPI, LLC, an international power developer. Â“Our immediate access to energy industry talent and raw materials, as well as flexible transportation options, gives us a definite strategic advantage over some of the larger, more entrenched engineering and construction firms.Â”
PontezÂ’s past work on behalf of the U.S. Department of State provided the team with a network of important contacts in the region. That, coupled with the S&W presidentÂ’s former ties to General Electric, allowed the partnership to obtain the six gas turbogenerators necessary for the project in a much shorter timeframe than is standard in the industry.
Other companies competing for the contract included Pratt & Whitney, a Hartford, Connecticut manufacturer of aircraft engines and gas turbines, and Foster Wheeler, Ltd., a Clinton, New Jersey engineering and construction company.
The contract, awarded by the Kuwaiti Ministry of Electricity and Water, includes a five-year operations and maintenance component. HPI and S&W are partnering with Alghanim International, a leading Kuwaiti civil and electromechanical engineering and contracting company, which is responsible for handling all of the civil works and site construction efforts associated with the project.