Dewey & LeBoeuf is making progress with Namibian developer NamPower in its efforts to close one of the world’s longest-running power projects.

Project finance partners Keith Hughes and Ben Donovan, real estate partner Graham Prentice, construction team associate Nicola Taylor and senior banking counsel Charles Marais are in advanced talks with interested contractors to begin building the Kudu combined-cycle gas turbine power station in early 2008.

Kudu was first mooted 15 years ago, but the discovery by Tullow Oil, which would provide the gas for the plant, that offshore gas reserves were less permeable than hoped and transmission lines would need to be built in a remote coastal location have led it to drag on.

Hughes is confident that the project will move towards a January launch. “Of the projects I’m aware of, it seems the most likely to go forward because of the business and political imperatives,” he said.

The main driver is neighbouring South Africa’s thirst for power, Hughes added. The country, a longstanding net energy exporter, has found itself suffering blackouts as a result of a surge in residential and industrial demand. Consequently its national utility Eskom is expected to buy about 80 per cent of the Kudu plant’s offtake.