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Razon fires up Iraq project

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At the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Iraq power project are (from right) Kasim Tawik, Prime Power Iraq director of government affairs; Rayan Kassis, Prime Power Iraq country director and global head of new international business; Dr. Safaa Al-Fayyadh, director general- general company for ports of Iraq and Engr. Manal Dbyah, project manager- general company for Ports of Iraq. Prime photo

Prime Power Middle East (PPME), a wholly owned unit of magnate Enrique K. Razon’s Prime Metro Power Holdings Corp., has commenced the operation of a power plant in Umm Qasr, Basra Governate, Iraq.

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.

“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,” 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 joint operation framework with General Company for Ports of Iraq (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,” Razon indicated.

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 GCPI.

Option to scale up

Benefiting from natural gas supply from a specially-built 15-kilometer (km) 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 29.3 megawatts (MW) reaching total generation capacity of 68.4 MW in Phase 2, with room to increase capacity up to 150 MW in the coming years. The power plant operation will be integrated with a distribution system to support the port industrial zone and surrounding cities.

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

“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,” Guillaume Lucci, Prime Power president and COO, said.

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.

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