x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Third private power plant for Kurdistan

Region Work on the 500 megawatt project in Kurdistan's Dohuk province is expected to start next month.

Mass Global Energy, a Kurdish group based in Jordan, has won a US$480 million (Dh1.76 billion) contract to build a power plant in Iraqi Kurdistan. Work on the 500 megawatt project in Kurdistan's Dohuk province is expected to start next month. The project is Mass Global's third in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region, which previously received its entire power supply from two small hydroelectric developments and suffered acutely from power shortages.

Last month, the firm inaugurated a 500mw power station near Erbil, the region's capital. Last week, it inaugurated the first phase of a 750mw power station for Sulaimaniya, Kurdistan's other large city. The plant is producing about 250mw of electricity and is expected to reach capacity by the end of this year. Both projects are fuelled by gas from Kurdistan's Khor Mor field, which two Sharjah companies - Crescent Petroleum and Dana Gas - are developing.

"These three stations that our company is building will provide 1,750mw, which [represents] some 35 per cent of power production in the whole of Iraq," said Ahmad Saleh, the chairman of Mass Global. He predicted their completion would eliminate power shortages in Kurdistan, whose inhabitants receive electricity for an average of 19 hours a day. The projects are the region's first private-sector power developments.

General Electric supplied turbines for the Erbil and Sulaimaniya plants. ABB, the Swedish/Swiss electrical contractor, implemented parts of the Erbil project. The integrated gas and electricity projects, which were sanctioned by Kurdistan's regional government but declared "illegal" by Iraq's oil ministry, promise to provide Iraqi Kurds with the most reliable power supply in the country. Iraqis in most other areas receive electricity through the national power grid for two to six hours each day in summer. The capacity of power stations outside Kurdistan is only 6,000mw, while at least 15,000mw are needed.

tcarlisle@thenational.ae