The $1.189 billion (Dh4.36 billion) first phase of the Gulf Electricity Interconnection Grid will become operational by mid-2008, officials said.
The landmark project will get underway with the awarding of engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts this summer, officials said.
This will pave the way for the creation of a pan-Arab electricity grid that can one day be connected to Europe and Africa, officials said, according to <i>Gulf News</i>.
"The tender documents were issued last month and bids are expected in April and May. Evaluation contract awards will be made in August 2005.
"We expect phase one of the GCC grid to become operational by mid-2008," said Dr Saleh Alawaji, Saudi Arabia's deputy minister for electricity and chairman of the GCC Interconnection Authority.
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," Alawaji told an audience of industry-watchers Monday.