By John Lee.

GE Gas Power has reported that it has successfully completed services on four 9F.03 gas turbines, two steam turbines and six generators at Iraq’s Besmaya Power Plant safely and on time, while continuing to execute wider operations and maintenance (O&M) works at the site despite the many challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

These service activities reduced the risk of unplanned downtime of power generation equipment at the site, enabling the plant to reliably supply up to 3 gigawatts (GW) of electricity to the national grid to help meet the peak summer demand for power.

Owned by Mass Group Holding (MGH), Besmaya is Iraq’s largest power plant. Phases 1 and 2 of the project can generate up to 3 GW and Phase 3, which is currently under construction, is expected to add up to another 1.5 GW. The facility is the first one in the country outside the Kurdistan region to be developed by an independent power producer on a build-own-operate basis for the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity.

GE has supplied eight gas turbines, four steam turbines and 12 generators that are covered by a 20-year service agreement and is also responsible for O&M services for Phases 1 and 2 of the project to ensure smooth operations at the site. Additionally, GE won a contract to supply four 9F.04 gas turbines and four generators for Phase 3. Much of the electricity generated at Besmaya is fed to the capital Baghdad and surrounding areas and its uninterrupted operations are critical to power local healthcare facilities, homes, businesses and more.

Ahmad Ismail, Chairman of MGH, said:

At MGH, we are committed to strengthening Iraq’s power sector further.

“The logistical and mobility constraints resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak led to several unexpected difficulties in carrying out the required service works at Besmaya including delays in the arrivals of parts and challenges in access to technical experts.

“However, the determination, flexibility and efficiency GE displayed by being able to draw on local teams on the ground, remote support from experts and access to a global supply chain, enabled us to keep the plant operational with high levels of reliability and efficiency and to deliver on our commitments.

Beginning February 2020, over 110 GE and FieldCore (a GE-owned field services execution company) staff members liaised closely with MGH to execute the services safely and as per schedule. The works conducted included the first phase of Hot Gas Path inspection services of the gas turbines, steam turbine minor inspections and generator MAGIC (Miniature Air Gap Inspection Crawler) inspections.

Experts based in the Middle East and Europe liaised with the local site team through digital tools, video conferences and phone calls on a daily basis to remotely support mechanical and commissioning works, identify and transport stocks of parts that needed to be replaced and keep track of overall project progress. To reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19, additional hygiene, health and safety measures were implemented at the site, including more frequent disinfection and cleaning activities, thermal screenings of everyone entering the site, distribution of additional mandatory personal protective equipment such as gloves and masks, COVID-19 prevention training sessions, accommodation for staff on-site, as well as other precautions.

Joseph Anis, President and CEO of GE Gas Power, Middle East, North Africa and South Asia said:

As we work through these exceptional times, our resolve to support the Ministry of Electricity and people of Iraq by providing the electricity needed to power everyday life, growth and progress remains unchanged. Our top priority remains the safety of our people, while continuing to deliver results for our customers and the communities we serve.

“I would like to thank the supportive staff at GE and MGH who stayed away from their loved ones for months, working long hours to secure reliable power supplies during this unprecedented period and for the hot summer months ahead. Together, we are honored to make a positive difference to the lives of millions of Iraqi citizens.

GE and FieldCore have up to 300 people across Iraq. The company has supported the development of the country’s energy infrastructure for over 50 years and since 2011, helped to bring up to 15 GW of power online across Iraq, including up to 1.4 GW in conflict affected areas such as Diyala and Mosul.

The company has also helped bring over US$2.4 billion in financing for energy sector projects in Iraq in collaboration with export credit agencies, commercial banks and other organizations.

(Source: GE)

By John Lee.

Swedish company Linxon has won an order of around $80 million to the Ministry of Electricity in Iraq for delivery of four turnkey 132/33 kV GIS substations. The contract forms part of the Electricity Sector Reconstruction Project (Phase 2) financed by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The delivery includes all needed equipment (High Voltage 132 kV GIS, 132/33 kV power transformers, 33 kV switchgear, control & protection system, communication system etc) as well as design, civil construction works, installation and commissioning. The delivery time is 18 months and the project will start around July, 2020.

Frédéric Tréfois, CEO of Linxon, said:

We are honoured to have received this mandate and are grateful for the collaboration and support by JICA in financing this project.

“This type of EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) project truly demonstrates the confidence of our clients in our comprehensive offering and our ability to deliver enhanced value.

“We have a good relationship and long-standing experience working with the Ministry of Electricity in Iraq in helping the country to ramp up it’s electricity capacity. I am proud of the Linxon team demonstrating resilience and winning this award during the current situation“.

JICA is the agency implementing Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA). JICA works proactively to address development challenges in Iraq by utilizing Japanese ODA loans. The Electricity Sector Reconstruction Project supports construction of power transmission and distribution facilities in Iraq, where the demand for electricity is especially high.

Linxon is a joint venture company set up in 2018 by SNC-Lavalin and ABB to deliver turnkey electrical AC substation projects.

(Source: Linxon)

By John Lee.

Swedish company Linxon has won an order of around $80 million to the Ministry of Electricity in Iraq for delivery of four turnkey 132/33 kV GIS substations. The contract forms part of the Electricity Sector Reconstruction Project (Phase 2) financed by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The delivery includes all needed equipment (High Voltage 132 kV GIS, 132/33 kV power transformers, 33 kV switchgear, control & protection system, communication system etc) as well as design, civil construction works, installation and commissioning. The delivery time is 18 months and the project will start around July, 2020.

Frédéric Tréfois, CEO of Linxon, said:

We are honoured to have received this mandate and are grateful for the collaboration and support by JICA in financing this project.

“This type of EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) project truly demonstrates the confidence of our clients in our comprehensive offering and our ability to deliver enhanced value.

“We have a good relationship and long-standing experience working with the Ministry of Electricity in Iraq in helping the country to ramp up it’s electricity capacity. I am proud of the Linxon team demonstrating resilience and winning this award during the current situation“.

JICA is the agency implementing Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA). JICA works proactively to address development challenges in Iraq by utilizing Japanese ODA loans. The Electricity Sector Reconstruction Project supports construction of power transmission and distribution facilities in Iraq, where the demand for electricity is especially high.

Linxon is a joint venture company set up in 2018 by SNC-Lavalin and ABB to deliver turnkey electrical AC substation projects.

(Source: Linxon)

Characterized by long, hot and clear summers, Najaf, Iraq’s holy city, seems like the ideal place to realize the potential for solar energy in Iraq. Which is why in 2016, Najaf was selected as one of three sites to pilot rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, testing their potential for application across the sunny nation.

Energy consumption in Iraq is dominated by fossil fuels, at 96%. Not only is this a missed opportunity for the subtropical nation, but it has had very real, and visible consequences for the environment. As public infrastructure struggles to cope with the growing population, dependency on diesel generators has created a smoggy reality, with the air pollution levels in Iraq linked to health consequences for the nation.

In 2016, with support from the Global Environment Fund (GEF), six families were selected to receive rooftop solar PV systems. These initial six families, were selected as part of a pilot to raise awareness and demonstrate the potential benefits of solar energy. Since then, some of these families have benefitted from the cost savings and all are excited by a new vision for clean energy and solar for their country.

“I knew that using solar energy had positive returns on the environment, and in a country like my homeland, Iraq, there is an urgent need to use it,” explains Ihsan, 49-year-old father-of-four and recipient of a rooftop solar PV system in Najaf. “But I was also surprised in many aspects, I didn’t know that by generating clean energy, I could contribute to my community,” he adds, pointing to the excess energy the panels provide being pumped back into the government grid.

For Qusai, a 45-year-old father-of-four and Ihsan’s neighbor, the benefit was also linked to the “clean” aspect of solar energy production, “The financial burden of relying on expensive diesel generators and the noise and smog produced, makes solar energy very appealing,” he explains. “It’s also very efficient!”

On average, each of the six households were able to save $2,300 over the past four years and a total of 58,000 kgs of CO2 was saved from being emitted into the atmosphere – that’s the equivalent of consuming more than 7,000 gallons of diesel.

But to make the use of solar energy more sustainable, UNDP and the GEF knew that Iraq would need trained and experienced personnel to maintain and repair the systems.

Faridha, a local Najaf resident and Head of Amal Al-Hayat Organisation for Culture and Information, was one of 25 civil society organization members – including 15 women – trained in operating and maintaining solar PV systems, to both support the piloting of these systems over the past four years, but also act as advocates for the adoption of cleaner, greener energy across Najaf.

“Before the training, we had heard about solar energy, but we did not know how we could benefit from it in Iraq, especially in the province of Najaf,” she explains. “Solar energy is an investment for the citizen. If people consume wisely, they benefit not just themselves, but their community.”

(Source: UNDP)

Siemens Energy and the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity have signed a contract for the Al Hamudhia substation, which will provide reliable and efficient power supply to the cities of Ramadi, Fallujah, Saqlawyah, Khalediyah and surrounding areas in Al Anbar governorate, North West of Baghdad.

Located about 20 kilometers away from Ramadi city, the turnkey 400- kilovolt (kV) Al Hamudhia substation will support greater grid connectivity and allows for a higher utilization of the Al Anbar power plant’s generated power, supporting anticipated energy demand growth of 10% annually.

Ammar Mohammed Kadhim, General Director of Planning and Studies Department, Iraqi Ministry of Electricity and the Head of the Japanese loan team “IQP22” projects at the Ministry, which are being financed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), said:

A top priority for the new government of Iraq is rebuilding the country’s power infrastructure. Upgrading and strengthening the Iraqi power grid is crucial to this ambitious plan, which will ultimately support Iraq’s economic, industrial and infrastructure development.

“We’re already working on comprehensive grid projects across the country in collaboration with international partners, like Siemens, to deploy the most reliable and advanced technologies.

The new substation will connect up to 750 Megavolt Amperes (MVA) to the national grid, helping decrease bottlenecks and transmission losses. Construction of Al Hamudhia station is expected to start in July 2020, and is scheduled for completion in July 2022.

Mahmoud Hanafy, Senior Vice President, Transmission Solutions at Siemens Energy, Middle East, said:

The new substation will support in providing reliable power to the homes and industries in the governorate of Al Anbar.

“Our grid technology enables more reliable, sustainable, efficient and flexible power systems. From transporting electricity from power plants to the distribution stations, all the way to the citizens, our ability to optimize flexibility and efficiency will contribute to boosting the transmission infrastructure of Iraq.

Part of the JICA’s projects in Iraq, the 400-kV Al Hamudhia’s scope of work includes the design, construction, equipment supply, erection, testing and commissioning and training of personnel. The project will be completed by Siemens Energy’s engineers in collaboration with specialized local Iraqi subcontractors.

The company is currently building 13, 132/33-kilovolt substations as part of the Siemens Roadmap for the Electrification of Iraq. These projects aim to strengthen the country’s electricity transmission and distribution network – with a particular focus on the governorate of Basra as well as the other governorates that are located in the middle and south of the country. Siemens is also supplying 35 power transformers to support the Iraqi power grid.

In April 2019, Siemens and the Government of Iraq signed an agreement to implement Phase 1 of the Roadmap, which is designed to meet the country’s reconstruction and power sector goals, and includes the addition of new and highly-efficient power generation capacity, rehabilitation and upgrade of existing power plants and the expansion of transmission and distribution networks. Following Siemens Roadmap for the Electrification of Iraq agreement, 791 MW of electricity has already been added to the country’s grid.

(Source: Siemens)

The Cabinet held its regular meeting in Baghdad on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.

At the start of the meeting, the Prime Minister thanked health teams for their sacrifices on the front line during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Cabinet received a briefing from the Minister of Health on the latest developments and the ongoing national effort to combat the pandemic.

Following discussions, the Cabinet decided to:

  • Implement a previous decision by the government to award, free of charge, plots of land for health staff who have direct contact with Covid-19 patients
  • Direct the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research to allocate additional places on postgraduate courses, outside its current plan for the 2020-2021 academic year, for health staff wishing to pursue further studies

The Cabinet discussed other items on its agenda, and decided to authorise the Minister of Finance to negotiate and sign loan agreements to ensure funding for several investment projects in the electricity and health sectors, as follows:

  • A loan to complete a project for the Ministry of Electricity to install (8) turbine refrigeration units and (32) other refrigeration units at a cost of 70,800,000 euros from Siemens
  • A loan for the installation and operation of (9) gas turbines for the Wasit power station for the amount of 36,000,000 euros  from Siemens for the Ministry of Electricity, funded by Standard Chartered Bank and with a guarantee from the Swedish Export Credit Agency (EKN)
  • A loan for the rehabilitation of health services infrastructure in the amount of 185,000,000 euros for the Ministry of Health funded by the German Development Bank (KFW)
  • A loan for the rehabilitation of electricity infrastructure in the amount of 400,000,000 euros, for the Ministry of Electricity, funded by the German Development Bank, KFW
  • A loan for the multi-annual maintenance project – the fourth stage in the amount of US$120,000,000 implemented by GE with funding from an international bank and  guaranteed by UK Export Finance (UKEF)
  • A loan for Babylon’s 400 KV Power Plant Rehabilitation Project, in the amount of 38,000,000 euros, implemented by Sweden’s ABB company, funded by JPMorgan Bank and guaranteed by the Swedish Export Credit Agency,  EKN

The Cabinet also approved a draft law to ratify the agreement on air transport services between the Republic of Iraq and the United Arab Emirates, and to submit it to the Council of Representatives.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

By John Lee.

Linxon Sweden AB has signed a contract with the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity to build 132-KV power transmission stations in Baghdad, Kut and Diwaniya.

The contract was signed in Stockholm in the presence of the Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq in Stockholm, Mr. Ahmed Al-Kamali.

Linxon is a joint venture company set up by SNC-Lavalin and ABB to deliver turnkey electrical AC substation projects.

(Source: Iraq Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Iran signed an agreement on exports of electricity to neighboring Iraq, covering 2020 and 2021.

The two sides signed the agreement during a visit to Baghdad by Iran’s Minister of Energy Reza Ardakanian, stressing their determination to broaden cooperation in the energy sector, despite American pressure on the Iraqi government to reduce economic ties with its neighbor.

Ardakanian in an interview highlighted the achievements of his one-day visit to Baghdad, where he signed the contract with the Iraqi Electricity Ministry.

The new agreement, he said, covers 2020 and 2021, while the previous deals had lasted for one-year periods.

He said Baghdad paid Tehran about $400 million – half of Iraq’s due debts to Iran for electricity supply – thanks to the Iranian Embassy’s follow-up efforts in the Iraqi capital.

The minister also noted that he discussed with Iraqi officials a three-year cooperation plan earlier signed between the countries’ private sectors to reconstruct Iraq’s electricity industry.

He further announced plans for a visit by Iranian technical teams to Iraq next week to pen two important agreements on reducing power grid losses and repairing electricity equipment, according to Press TV.

Heading a delegation of electricity experts, Ardakanian visited Iraq on Wednesday and held meetings with senior officials, including Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, President Barham Salih and Electricity Minister Majid Mahdi Hantoush.

The Iraqi Prime Minister’s office said in a statement that Kadhimi had, in his meeting with Ardakanian, stressed Baghdad’s willingness to develop the best of relations with its neighbors.

The two sides exchanged views on cooperation opportunities in the energy sector and boosting bilateral ties between the two neighboring states, according to the statement.

Kadhimi also underlined the need for maximum efforts to resolve complicated problems gripping the region.

Separately, the Iraqi president’s office released a statement on Ardakanian’s meeting with Salih, saying the latter called for bilateral interactions, especially in the fields of electricity and water.

The two officials, the statement read, also explored ways to enhance bilateral relations in all sectors in line with mutual interests.

Iraq and Iran share a 1,400-kilometer-long border. Except for gas and power, Iraq depends on Iran for everything from food, fruits and vegetables to machinery and home appliances.

Iranian energy accounts for between 30 and 40 percent of the electricity consumed in Iraq.

Over the past months, Washington has been pressing Baghdad to stop buying natural gas and electricity from Tehran as part of its “maximum pressure” campaign aimed at choking off Iran’s revenue.

Illegal US sanctions are preventing Iran from repatriating its money.

Last month, Iraq’s former electricity minister Luay al-Khatteeb said Iran will remain a key source of energy to the Arab country for years to come until suitable alternatives materialize.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

Iran’s Minister of Energy Reza Ardekanian has paid a visit to Iraq for talks on energy cooperation.

During his trip to Baghdad, Ardekanian will hold talks with his new Iraqi counterpart and the other senior officials of the Arab country to weigh plans for the promotion of cooperation in the electricity industry.

The Iranian and Iraqi energy ministers are expected to discuss the expansion of Tehran-Baghdad cooperation in the energy industry, a plan to synchronize the power grids of Iran and Iraq, the training programs, and development of the electricity networks of the two neighbors.

In a ceremony in November 2019, Iran connected its national grid to Iraq.

Power cuts in Iraq have often prompted protests against the authorities. Iran supplies enough gas to power 2,500 megawatts (MW), as well as providing Iraq with 1,200 MW in direct power supplies.

(Picture credit: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

By John Lee.

Kurdistan’s Council of Ministers has reportedly approved a proposal from the KRG’s Ministry of Electricity to privatize the Region’s electricity sector.

Ministry official Mohammed Ahmed told Rudaw on Wednesday:

“The government and the people will both benefit from it as it will help reduce a significant amount of stolen electricity.”

More here.

(Source: Rudaw)