Financial closure has paved the way for construction to start on one of two combined-cycle plants to be carried out on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis at Ereglisi, on the Sea of Marmara. A credit financing agreement was signed in the US on 28 June for the plant with an output of about 480 MW planned by a BOT venture called Trakya Electrik.

The venture is led by the US’ Enron Corporation and Wing Merrill and also includes the local Gama and the UK’s Midlands Electricity. The $600 million financing package comprises $85 million worth of credits to be extended by the US’ Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), $250 million from the Export-Import Bank of the US (Eximbank), $110 million covered by Germany’s official export credit agency Hermes and the remainder contributed in the form of equity by the project partners (MEED 30:6:96).

Trakya’s turnkey contractor, a venture of Enron with Gama, will be able to start awarding equipment and construction contracts following the first drawdown on the financing package, expected in August.

The second plant of similar size and cost at Ereglisi is planned by a venture of Japan’s Marubeni Corporation, Belgium’s Unit International and Turkish contractor Mimag, and also includes the UK’s Northern Power. Officials claim the project is expected to reach financial closure within the next month, but industry sources say it may take longer.

A third but smaller gas-fired, cogeneration project planned in the Istanbul suburb of Esenyurt is also within sight of financial closure, according to the officials. The $164 million 180-MW station, along with a district heating plan, is sponsored by a venture of the US’ Mission Energy and Turkey’s Doga Enerji.