(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa, of Bahrain, inaugurated the kingdom's largest independent power generating and water desalinating plant owned by Al-Dur Power and Water Co. (Al Dur).
The plant will cost up to USD 2.1 billion, the Kuwait-based Gulf Investment Corporation (GIC) said in a press release here on Tuesday.
The inauguration ceremony was held yesterday in the presence of Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al-Khalifa and more than 600 local, regional and international dignitaries and business leaders and shareholders and partners of the company.
Al Dur has been established to help meet the growing demand in the Kingdom of Bahrain for clean, reliable and competitively-priced power and water.
The plant, which began commercial operations in February 2012, has a capacity of 1,234 MW of power and 218,000 m3 per day of the highest quality water in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region today, according to the GIC statement.
This is equivalent to approximately one-third of the Kingdom's installed power capacity and one-third of its water requirements.
With the additional capacity that Al Dur will supply to the national grid of the Kingdom, the plant has the potential to transform Bahrain from an importer of power at peak periods of usage to an exporter of power to other GCC countries.
The Bahraini Electricity and Water Authority ("EWA") is the sole off-taker of the plant output under a 25-year Power and Water Purchase Agreement.
Al Dur has been developed at a total cost of USD 2.1 billion by International Power-GDF SUEZ, a world leader in independent power and water generation, and Gulf Investment Corporation, the largest financial investor in power and water projects in the GCC.
Its shareholders include a number of local Bahraini institutions: Social Insurance Organization, Bahrain Islamic Bank, Capital Management House, First Energy Bank and Instrata Capital.
On this occasion Bahraini Minister of Electricity Abdulhussain bin Ali Mirza said: "We are honoured by the patronage and presence of His Majesty the King to mark the official inauguration of the Al Dur power and water plant.
His support reflects His Majesty's keen interest in developing landmark projects of this scale in the Kingdom and, in particular, those that contribute towards enhancing the quality of life for citizens and their access to vital services.
"EWA is working hand-in-hand with the private sector in order to support Government efforts to expand the Kingdom's infrastructure," Mirza pointed out.
"We are confident that the launch of Al Dur and its partnership with EWA will ensure the stable and secure supply of power and water to support ongoing growth and diversification of the economy," he said.
"This significant investment made by the shareholders of Al Dur is a direct reflection of their confidence in the Kingdom, its leadership and its strong prospects for the future," he added.
On his part, GIC's CEO Hisham Al-Razzuqi said: "We are delighted to inaugurate this landmark project in the Kingdom of Bahrain." "As Bahrain's single largest independent producer of power and water, Al Dur is a critical part of the Kingdom's economic infrastructure. With the launch of commercial operations at the plant, the Kingdom's power and water supply has been secured well into this decade," Al-Razzuqi pointed out.
"Reliable access to power and water is essential to fuelling growth and we are proud to play an important part in the Kingdom's further economic development for the benefits of all citizens," he stated.
"We thank His Majesty King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa and the leadership and government of the Kingdom of Bahrain for the support they have extended to Al Dur and its shareholders and for continuing to make Bahrain an ideal location for pioneering private sector projects," Al-Razzuqi added.
Developed and built by best-in-class partners and contractors, Al Dur uses cutting edge technologies that put the plant at the forefront of reliability, safety and environmental friendliness.