Preliminary negotiations with two consortia have started for turnkey contracts for the construction of four hydroelectric dams on the Coruh river in the northeast. The dams are part of a series planned by the State Hydraulics Works (DSI). The negotiations with the DSI come under inter- governmental energy protocols reached with France and Austria.

The four dams and their respective consortia are:

the 300-MW Borcka and 115-MW Muratli dams, with a combined estimated cost of $440 million. The consortium negotiating this project comprises JM Voith, Verbund Plan and Elin Union, all of Austria, together with locals Yuksel and Temelsu

the 332-MW Artvin and 540-MW Yusufeli dams, estimated to cost a combined $925 million. The project consortium consists of Anglo/French GEC Alsthom and France’s Spie Batignolles with the local Yuksel.

Negotiations are also under way for a third project on the Coruh river – the $711 million, 670-MW Deriner dam in Artvin province, about 70 kilometres from the Georgian border. The consortium negotiating this turnkey contract is formed from ABB Asea Brown Boveri and Sulzer, both of Switzerland, a Russian company identified as Teknostroyexport, and the local ERG.

The Deriner dam will be a double-curvature, concrete belt structure impounding a reservoir of 3.5 million cubic metres. However, the other dams are rockfill structures. Construction of all five dams will take six-eight years.

The Coruh series of dams including several others will have a total generating capacity of about 3,000 MW, according to senior DSI officials. Since their total output is more than sufficient to meet regional requirements, the surplus electricity will probably be exported to neighbouring countries like Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, say the officials.