Prime Power Middle East (PPME), a wholly owned subsidiary of Prime Metro Power Holdings Corporation, has commenced operation of its power plant in Umm Qasr, Basra.

The power plant started its commercial operation last Sunday, 09 February 2020, and is designed to deliver base load of 24/7 power to the Umm Qasr Ports Authority Zone.

The gas-fired power plant is equipped with three latest version Wartsila W20V34SG engines with fast start capability able to provide power to the GCPI grid within 30 seconds. It is fully automated with the latest control system allowing stable electricity generation to the Umm Qasr Port grid.

Prime Power started discussions with the Iraqi government in 2016 in light of the growing power shortages. In May 2018, Prime Power signed a 23-year Power Purchase Agreement with the Genral Company of Ports or Iraq (GCPI).

Benefiting from natural gas supply from a specially built 15km natural gas pipeline, the Umm Qasr Port Power Plant is the first phase of a multi-phase development program that starts with its current Phase 1 operational capacity of 29.3MW reaching total generation capacity 68.4MW in Phase 2, with room to increase capacity up to 150MW in the coming years.

The power plant operation will be integrated with a distribution system to support the port industrial zone and surrounding cities.

Enrique Razon Jr., Prime Power Chairman and CEO, said:

We are delighted to start our greenfield power plant in Umm Qasr Port. It is a testament to the potential of Iraq.

“Under a join operation framework with GCPI we were able to leverage the Basra Governorate’s natural gas resources to develop a first class state of the art facility that adds vital power generation infrastructure and services to state of Iraq.

“We see this plant as the first phase of many as we continue to be long term investors in Iraq and to contribute to its economic and social development.

In spite of some of geopolitical and social challenges Iraq is going through, the plant was built within record time and ahead of schedule.

Guillaume Lucci, Prime Power President and COO, said:

We are pleased to have delivered such critical infrastructure and services to GCPI and the Port of Umm Qasr.

“The completion of Phase 1, in less than one year, is a significant milestone in Prime Power’s strategy to build up an infrastructure portfolio that delivers fast and critical investments to regions in need.

“We will continue to rest on our strong presence on the ground as we work hand in hand with the government and the communities we serve.

Moving forward, PPME will continue to improve the electricity situation at the port, and is looking forward to launching the Phase 2 in the last quarter of 2020.

Prime Metro Power will continue to aim for an even greater contribution to the Iraq power market, and continue the boundless use of economical and sustainable power generation facilities.

(Source: ICTSI)

A federal jury convicted a Romanian citizen for his role in a government contract kickback scheme that caused a loss of more than $3.4 million to the U.S. Department of State.

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Emil Popsecu, 49, conspired to violate the Anti-Kickback Act related to the lease of real property in Iraq in 2011.

According to evidence adduced and presented at trial, a United States government contractor headquartered in Virginia and performing services for the U.S. Department of State in Iraq in 2011, was searching for real property to lease. A conspiracy formed between Wesley Aaron Struble, 49, a United States citizen living in Batangas, Phillipines, and Joes Rivera, 60, of Potomac, Maryland, both of whom were working as government contractors in Iraq.

Struble and Rivera approached an Iraqi company and its associates and agreed to accept kickbacks in exchange for help in causing the U.S. State Department contractor to lease property that the Iraqi company controlled.

Emil Popescu was late recruited to the conspiracy and asked to open a bank account in Baghdad, Iraq. After a lease was signed between the U.S. State Department contractor and the Iraqi company, Popescu withdrew cash from the bank account and made kickback payments directly to Struble and Rivera. Popescu also facilitated other kickback payments by withdrawing money from the bank account and giving it to the Iraqi company knowing that kickback payments were owed to Struble and Rivera.

Prior to trial, Struble and Rivera each pleaded guilty to the same conspiracy and were sentenced to four years and three years in prison, respectively.

Popescu faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison when sentenced on Feb. 23, 2018. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Steve A. Linick, the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of State, and Andrew W. Vale, Assistant Director of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema accepted the verdict. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian D. Harrison and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly R. Pedersen prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:17-cr-44 and 1:17-cr-052.

(Source: US Dept of Justice)