State-controlled Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) has signed a deal to build a 4.6bn riyals ($1.23bn) combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plant in Shoaiba, 120 km south of the port city of Jeddah.

The 1238 new plant, which is expected to be operational within three years, will be linked to SEC’s 380 kV network and help to meet the rising demand in the Kingdom’s western region.

SEC did not release details of the winning contractor, but a report from Reuters said that industry sources believe that South Korea’s Daelim Industrial has been awarded the contract.

Ali Al-Barrak, SEC’s CEO, said the company had doubled it generating capacity from 25 790 MW in 2000 to 51 250MW by August 2011.

“We have decided to implement a number of power generation and distribution projects in different parts of the Kingdom to strengthen the company’s capacity,” he said.

SEC has an $80bn investment plan to increase its power generation capacity by 30 000 MW by 2018 to meet a demand for electricity that is growing at around 8 per cent annually.

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