By John Lee.
Under the guidance of the Iraqi Prime Minister, H.E. Dr. Adel Abdul Mahdi, the patronage of the Iraqi Minister of Electricity, H.E. Dr. Luay al-Khatteeb and in continuation of their dedicated efforts to strengthen Iraq’s power sector, Mass Energy Group Holding (MGH) and GE Power signed a new agreement that will help establish Phase 3 of the Besmaya [Bismaya] Power Plant, taking the total capacity of the facility up to 4.5 gigawatts (GW).
Under the scope of the agreement, GE will supply MGH with four 9F gas turbines and four generators to equip Besmaya Phase 3. The project has already been approved by Iraq’s Council of Ministers and MGH will supply electricity from the new extension of the plant to the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA).
The agreement was signed in the presence of H.E. Dr. Luay Al-Khatteeb and John Rice, Chairman of GE Gas Power by Ahmad Ismail, Chairman of MGH and Joseph Anis, President and CEO of GE’s Gas Power Systems and Power Services businesses in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.
H.E. Dr. Luay Al-Khatteeb said:
“As the first independent power project in Central Iraq, Besmaya set benchmarks in public-private sector partnerships and contributions to Iraq’s electricity network.
“It has not only shown that Iraq can be an attractive destination for private sector investments in the energy sector but more importantly, it has played a critical role in helping the government to increase supplies of reliable, efficient, and affordable power to meet the needs of our citizens. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with MGH and GE through the further expansion of Besmaya Power Plant.”
Besmaya Phase 3 is the largest new power plant by output to be added to Iraq’s national grid since 2014. The project is anticipated to bring another 1.5 GW of power online by 2021, with the first 500 megawatts (MW) scheduled to be added to the grid as early as next year. Up to 1,200 people are expected to be employed in the construction of Besmaya Phase 3.
Ahmad Ismail said:
“At Mass Energy Group Holding, our mission is to make investments in the interests of the public by being an active contributor to the construction and development of Iraq’s power sector. In GE, we have found a reliable partner that is not only committed to the same values but also able to provide industry-leading technology, as well as world-class execution and service expertise on the ground in Iraq.
“We are excited to start working on the next phase of Besmaya today and remain committed to partnering with the government and people of Iraq to keep addressing the country’s power generation needs in the future as well.”
The agreement builds on a proven track record of successful power generation projects executed in collaboration between MGH and GE in Iraq. Besmaya is already the largest power plant in Iraq in terms of output and among the largest across the Middle East and North Africa.
Phase 1 of Besmaya Power Plant is capable of generating up to 1.5 GW of power, while Phase 2 can already produce up to 1 GW and is expected to add up to another 500 MW as it starts combined cycle operations during the end of 2019 / early 2020. GE has provided eight 9F gas turbines and 4 steam turbines for the first two phases of Besmaya. Moreover, MGH and GE have earlier brought up to 4 GW of power online in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq through the Erbil, Duhuk, and Sulaymania projects.
Joseph Anis said:
“On behalf of GE, I would like to thank MGH and the Ministry of Electricity for their continued trust in us. GE has been honored to collaborate with various organizations to support the development of Iraq’s electricity sector for over 50 years.
“From being among the first to help rebuild power infrastructure in conflict-affected areas such as Diyala and Mosul, to providing equipment and services for Iraq’s first independent power plant, we have not just promised but continuously delivered on our commitment to help power progress for the people of Iraq.”