A turnkey construction contract together with a 100 per cent, $170 million financing package for the 189-MW Kargamis dam on the Euphrates river close to the Syrian border was signed with an Austrian-led consortium on 7 December. Client is the State Hydraulic Works (see Syria).

The principal members of the consortium are Elin Voith with JM Voight and Verbund Plan, all of Austria, and the local Yuksel Insaat with Temel Su Engineering. The financing package is comprised of Austrian export credits within the framework of a government-to-government co-operation agreement between Turkey and Austria, and a commercial loan valued at around $45.5 million. The arranger of the export credits is Bayerische Landesbank, and of the commercial loan is Dublin-registered Va Tech Finance.

Starting soon, work on the site around 4.5 kilometres upstream from the Syrian border, will take about four years. On completion, the project’s four-by-31.5-MW turbines and generators will supply around 650 million kWh a year. Machinery will be supplied by the Austrian companies in the consortium, and its local partners will carry out the main civil engineering work.

Kargamis is the last in a series of power units on the river in the government’s Euphrates Border Programme, in turn a subsidiary part of the massive southeast Anatolian (GAP) development programme. The GAP programme aims, through a series of hydroelectric and irrigation dams, to transform the arid and poverty stricken region into an agricultural and industrial dynamo.

The contract signing will follow soon after the conclusion of a financing agreement for the 672-MW Birecik dam project, a short distance upstream on the Euphrates. However, the Birecik dam will be constructed on a private- sector franchise, build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis, and will also irrigate a large area of land (MEED 1:12:95).