OPC power plant at Mishor Rotem in the Negev in Israel is poised to sign a 10-year contract with Haifa Oil Refineries to sell 115 MW, starting at the end of 2012. The deal is worth $55m a year.

OPC is currently building a 440 MW plant at a $600m investment. The company won the tender to build the plant for the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC), and the tender committed IEC to buying the plant’s output for 20 years, but left OPC with an option to sell 75 per cent of its electricity directly to private customers, with the remaining 25 per cent being sold to the national grid.

OPC now holds five contracts to supply electricity. It is contracting to sell a total of 300 MW, close to the limit of what it can sell privately.

OPC is 80 per cent owned by the Ofer family-controlled Israel Corp and 20 per cent owned by French conglomerate Veolia Environment.

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Lebanon power sector in need of rehabilitation

Blominvest has published a report that argues Lebanon needs to speed up rehabilitation of the power sector and consider allowing the private sector to take part in large energy projects.

The report claims that public transfers to Électricité du Liban absorb an excessive amount of the government budget, amounting to $1.5bn in 2009 (14.3 per cent of GDP), and may reach $2bn by the end of 2011.

This huge drain on government finances is crowding out the need to improve services in other areas, such as education, infrastructure and healthcare.

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Orascom Construction wins power station deal worth $181m

Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) in Egypt has announced that it has been awarded a project worth $181m to build a 1500 MW power station in Giza.

The combined cycle power plant project was awarded by the Cairo Electricity Production Company and would take around 32 months to complete.

The company is currently constructing several power plants in Egypt and Algeria, with a total power generation capacity of 5250 MW.

“The group has secured large contracts, and we believe the power sector will continue to provide great opportunities,” said Osama Bishai, OCI construction group CEO.

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ABB secures $17m power substation deal in Saudi Arabia

ABB has announced it has won a $17m order from Hanwha Engineering & Construction of Korea to extend a substation at Yanbu in Saudi Arabia.

The project at Yanbu involves the integration of additional power capacity from two new generation blocks. The Yanbu power plant is owned and operated by Marafiq, the regional power and water utility. The new blocks will generate an additional 500 MW, raising the plant’s output to 1500 MW.

ABB will design, supply, install and commission the extension of the 380/115 kV substation. The project is scheduled for completion by 2012.

Oleg Aleinikov, head of ABB’s substation business, said: “The extension will help meet the growing demand for electricity.”

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ACWA acquires stake in Jordanian generation company

Saudi Arabian water desalination and power generation company ACWA Power International has completed an acquisition that gives it a controlling stake in Jordan’s largest electricity producer, Central Electricity Generating Co (CEGCO).

ACWA Power has purchased a 65 per cent share in Enara Energy Investments, which owns 51 per cent of CEGCO. ACWA Power has also sold a minority stake in Enara to the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

In June 2011, ACWA Power entered into an agreement with Jordan Dubai Capital to acquire a controlling stake in CEGCO.

CEGCO has 1550 MW of installed capacity, meeting 59 per cent of Jordan’s current electricity consumption through seven power generation sites situated across the country.

As part of the agreement, ACWA Power will be supporting refurbishment of the power infrastructure in Jordan.

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Iran’s Bushehr nuclear plant primed to go online by end of August

Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, director of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), said Bushehr nuclear plant will be connected to the national grid by the end of August.

Bushehr will be able to generate 40 per cent of its total capacity as soon as it is connected to the grid, he said.

The plant’s first fuel loading was in August 2010, with 163 fuel rods loaded under supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“Iran will start Bushehr nuclear power plant late Ramadan; we have taken preliminary steps regarding the plant,” he said.

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Iraqi electricity minister dismissed over $1.7bn deals

Iraq’s electricity minister, Raad Shalal, has been dismissed and is under investigation for not following government guidelines in the signing of two deals worth $1.7bn.

Deputy prime minister Hussain al-Shahristani said the deals broke government guidelines by not being signed directly with manufacturers.

Al-Shahristani said Shalal had signed a $500m contract with Maschinenbau Halberstadt and a $1.2bn contract with the Canadian Alliance for Power Generation Equipment to build ten power stations with a total capacity of 1000 MW.

A cabinet official told the Associated Press that Raad Shalal could face criminal charges.

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Agreements signed for Oman power network

Dhofar Energy Company has signed six agreements worth $83m with several companies to expand the Salalah electricity network.

The first, worth $17.4m, includes erection of a 23 km, 132 kV transmission line from Awqad to Raysut. The second, worth $14.8m, is to construct a transformer station in Awqad.

The third agreement, worth $20m, is to extend by 60 km the 132 kV transmission line to connect the transformer station in Awqad with one in Mirbat.

The fourth, fifth and sixth agreements, worth $13.2m, $7.3m, and $10.4m respectively, are for construction of seven 33/11 kV substation transformers.

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