World Bank plans pilot power schemes in Yemen

04 September 2009

Tenders for three coal-fired plants at Aden, Al-Hudaida and Mukalla are expected in September.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank, is proposing three independent power projects (IPPs) in Yemen.

The pilot projects will have a combined capacity of 375MW, says Salim Bahakim, head of the IPP programme at the state-owned Public Electricity Corporation.

The first plant, at Aden in the south of the country, will have a capacity of 150MW, as will a second plant at Al-Hudaida in the west. A third plant at Mukalla, east of Aden, will have a capacity of 75MW.

The power plants will initially use heavy fuel oil as feedstock, but the Public Electricity Corporation could convert them to burn natural gas if they are connected to a gas pipeline network in the future.

The IFC will manage the tendering process and is due to issue an invitation for expressions of interest in mid September.

Yemen’s previous attempts to develop IPPs have all failed.

In 2006, a consortium of the Netherlands’ Litwin, Turkey’s Gama Energy and the local Al-Fahem Group received an exclusive mandate from the Electricity Ministry to develop a 480MW private power project at Mabar, northwest of Aden.

But in December 2007, the US’ GE bought a 50 per cent stake in Gama, leading the Turkish company to pull out of the consortium to develop Mabar in early 2008.

One source close to the project says the team of developers now includes both Yemeni and US investors. He adds that the state-owned utility has informed the consortium that negotiations for the long-delayed scheme will restart imminently.

However, there is some confusion over the structure of the project. According to Bahakim, the utility has prepared a tender for the scheme on an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) basis, rather than as an IPP.

However, if the project is not implemented on an EPC basis, he adds, it could yet follow the IFC’s pilot schemes as an IPP. “We will consider proposals from investors for an IPP,” says Bahakim.

In the meantime, Public Electricity Corporation has delayed the bid deadline for two planned power plants at Marib, northeast of Aden.

Companies were due to submit bids for the engineering, procurement and construction contracts for the Marib 2 and Marib 3 schemes in mid August, but the Yemeni utility has postponed the deadline until 3 October.

The oil-fired plants will have a capacity of 380-480MW and 300MW respectively.

Public Electricity Corporation has prequalified eight companies for the scheme, including Ger-many’s Siemens, Italy’s Ansaldo, Saudi Arabia’s National Contracting Company, India’s Bharat Heavy Electricals and China’s Dongfang Electric Corporation.

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