Addressing the project implementation challenges in the Saudi Arabian power supply industry: an investigative approach towards improving project delivery

  • Bandar Alhoweish

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


For many decades, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been widely known for being a reliable oil exporter. This fact, however, has not exempted it from facing significant domestic energy challenges. One of the most pressing of these challenges involves bridging the widening electricity supply-demand gap where, currently, the demand is growing at a very fast rate. One crucial means to address this challenge is through delivering power supply projects with maximum efficiency. Project delivery delay, however, is not uncommon in this highly capital-intensive industry, indicating electricity supplies are not coping with the demand increases. To provide a deeper insight into the challenges of project implementation and efficient practice, this research adopts a pragmatic approach by triangulating literature, questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. The research was conducted in the Saudi Arabian power supply industry – Western Operating Area. A total of 105 usable questionnaires were collected, and 28 recorded, semi-structured interviews were conducted, analysed and synthesised to produce a conceptual model of what constitutes the project implementation challenges in the investigated industry. This was achieved by conducting a comprehensive ranking analysis applied to all 58 identified and surveyed factors which, according to project practitioners in the investigated industry, contribute to project delay. 28 of these project delay factors were selected as the "most important" ones. Factor Analysis was employed to structure these 28 most important project delay factors into the following meaningful set of 7 project implementation challenges: Saudi Electricity Company's contractual commitments, Saudi Electricity Company's communication and coordination effectiveness, contractors' project planning and project control effectiveness, consultant-related aspects, manpower challenges and material uncertainties, Saudi Electricity Company's tendering system, and lack of project requirements clarity. The study has implications for industry policy in that it provides a coherent assessment of the key project stakeholders' central problems. From this analysis, pragmatic recommendations are proposed that, if enacted, will minimise the significance of the identified problems on future project outcomes, thus helping to ensure the electricity supply-demand gap is diminished.
Date of AwardSept 2011
Original languageEnglish


  • Project management
  • project delay
  • Saudi Arabia
  • electricity supply projects

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