• Al-Samawa plant will be the country’s first publicly tendered independent power project
  • Electricity Ministry is said to be happy with the interest shown from international firms in project
  • Ministry hopes to issue request for proposals by end of May

Iraq’s Electricity Ministry is evaluating prequalification entries for the country’s first publicly tendered independent power project (IPP), located in the Al-Samawa governorate in the south.

MEED reported in January that the ministry had received expressions of interest (EoIs) from 17 companies for the IPP, and the ministry has now received prequalification entries.

While it is not clear how many firms submitted prequalification documents, the ministry is said to be happy with the number of participants and of the calibre of the companies that have tried to prequalify for the tender, according to a source close to the scheme. According to the source, the ministry is hoping to have drawn up a firm prequalification list and issued request for proposals (RFPs) by the end of May.

The Al-Samawa IPP is planned to have a capacity of 750MW, and the duration of the power purchase agreement (PPA) will be for a period of 17.5 years. If successful, the ministry intends to roll out further IPPs as part of a larger programme.

The scheme marks the first publicly tendered IPP since the collapse of the previous IPP programme in 2011. MEED reported earlier in 2014 that the Electricity Ministry was in discussions with developers for four directly negotiated IPPs.

The Al-Samawa plant will use GE turbines, which were purchased as part of the ministry’s mega-deal with the US’ GE and Germany’s Siemens in 2009 for turbines for fast-track power projects. The IPP is scheduled to use four 175MW turbines. As part of the scheme, bidders will be required to purchase the turbines.

MEED understands that the ministry will be willing to provide financing for the turbines at a low-interest rate if required. While the authority is planning to develop the project as a combined-cycle plant, due to the urgent demand for power in the country, bidders can initially develop the facility as a simple-cycle plant and upgrade it to combined-cycle within 4.5 years from financial close.

Iraq’s previous IPP programme was initiated in 2008, when IPA Energy & Water Economics, a division of Lebanon’s Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners), was appointed to act as adviser to the Electricity Ministry. IPA produced a strategy paper in September 2009, which was approved by the cabinet in February 2010. Final transaction documents were provided to bidders in December 2010.

Stay informed with the latest in the Middle East
Download the MEED app today, available on Apple and Android devices