Wärtsilä has been awarded five natural gas power plant projects worth a total of €150m ($165m) in Argentina.

Contracts for three plants totalling €78m have been signed with Industrias J.F.Secco (Secco), while the other two projects are each with other Argentinian independent power producers.

The combined output of all five plants will be 382 MW.Wartsila's 34DF engine

The Secco plants will have a total output of 192 MW and are all based on Wärtsilä dual-fuel engines. The plants will be run primarily on gas, with heavy fuel oil used as the back-up fuel.

Thirteen Wärtsilä 34DF dual-fuel engines are included in the deliveries for two of the plants, while four Wärtsilä 50DF dual-fuel engines will power the third.

All three plants will be in the Santa Fe province in central Argentina. The equipment is scheduled to be delivered in early 2017 and the plants are due to be fully operational in the second half of the year.

These projects stem from a tender issued by CAMMESA, the national grid system operator, on behalf of the Ministry of Energy in Argentina, which has a plan to strengthen the grid.

The dual-fuel engines have been chosen because natural gas is not available for several months during the year.

The plants will feed power into Argentina’s national grid under a power purchase agreement between Secco and the government.

“We need dual-fuel technology to cope with the varying supply of natural gas here in Argentina,” said Secco international business manager Osvaldo Calvo.

Alberto Fernandez, regional director of Wärtsilä Energy Solutions, said: “We are very happy to be part of strengthening the national grid in Argentina. These plants will increase five-fold Wärtsilä’s installed capacity in Argentina.”