The UN asked the Russian company to provide further details on a number of issues relating to the contract in early January and Technopromexport has been compiling its response since then. Once the clarifications have been submitted, sources say it could take as much as a further 18 months before the UN gives final approval for the project.

Technopromexport is the main contractor for the 1,680-MW thermal power plant, 50 kilometres from Baghdad. The company was first awarded a contract for the construction of a six-by-210-MW plant in June 1988 and later agreed to add two further 210-MW units to the plant. The Youssifiyah plant was almost a quarter complete by the summer of 1990. However, Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent imposition of sanctions led to a lengthy interruption in the construction process, which has only ended recently.

The Youssifiyah plant will now be built in several stages, with the first phase, consisting of three 210-MW units, scheduled for completion in 2006. Further units will be added every six months until the plant has a total capacity of 1,680 MW. The cooling towers will have a construction period of 33 months.

Russian companies have been particularly active in Iraq’s power sector. Technopromexport has been working with Iraqi public entities since the late 1950s and is presently working on the rehabilitation of the 1,400-MW Al-Shamil power station in Baghdad and the 800-MW Hartha power plant in Basra. Last year, Russian companies were understood to have won several power project contracts, including an $80 million UN contract to supply two gas turbines for the Dibis power station in northern Iraq and another worth $75 million for the supply of equipment to the hydroelectric plant at the Makkul dam (MEED 1:11:02).