Belgium-based Unit Internationalhas been awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the country?s first private power plant. To be carried out in three phases, the plant will eventually have capacity of 2,000 MW and will be located at Rudeshur, 40 kilometres outside Tehran. The project is being carried out on a build-operate basis. The developer is a private local firm, Arian Mah?taab Gostar Company.

The single-cycle plant will initially have 750 MW of generating capacity, rising to 1,250 MW and then to 2,000 MW. Germany?s Siemens has been awarded the subcontract to supply three 264-MW turbines and electrical equipment while Turkey’s STFAwill carry out civil and mechanical works. Germany?s Fichtneris the consultant.

Energy conversion agreements (ECAs) are in place. Gas will be sourced from Iran Natural Gas Company and the offtaker will be state power company Tavanir.

First-phase construction will begin in late 2003 or early 2004 and is scheduled for completion in 20-24 months. The second phase is due to start by mid-2004 and the third phase will begin by the end of the year.

The Eur 225 million ($266 million) financing for the project?s first phase is being arranged by Germany?s HypoVereinsbank (HVB) and is structured as a blend of export credits, covered by Germany?s Hermes and Belgium?s Office National du Ducroire (OND), and commercial debt. The credit agreements have been signed between HVB and Bank Mellat Iran.

Tehran?s plans to introduce private power have hit a number of snags in recent months. Tavanir is in the process of reassessing plans to tender a series of independent power projects (IPPs) on a build-own-operate basis after no companies bid for the first two proposed plants ? 500-MW facilities at Zanjan. Four more IPPs are planned at Khoramabad, Mashad and Kashan. Negotiations are ongoing over the first build-operate-transfer plant at Parehsar, being promoted by Iran Power Development Company, and only two companies applied for prequalification to buy the government?s 350-MW Khoy power plant in Azerbaijan province (MEED 26:9:03).