Iran and China win power plant contracts in Iraq

Oct 18, 2007 02:00 AM

Iraq has agreed to award $ 1.1 bn in contracts to Iranian and Chinese companies to build a pair of enormous power plants, the Iraqi electricity minister said. Word of the project prompted serious concerns among US military officials, who fear that Iranian commercial investments can mask military activities.
The Iraqi electricity minister, Karim Wahid, said that the Iranian project would be built in Sadr City, a Shiite enclave in Baghdad that is controlled by followers of the anti-American cleric Moktada al-Sadr. He said that Iran had also agreed to provide cheap electricity from its own grid to southern Iraq, and to build a large power plant essentially free of charge in an area between the two southern Shiite holy cities of Karbala and Najaf.

Of the two new projects Iraq has agreed to finance, Wahid said the largest is a $ 940 mm power plant in Wasit to be built by a Chinese company, which he said was named Shanghai Heavy Industry. That project would pump some 1,300 MW of electricity into the Iraqi grid.
For comparison, all of the plants currently connected to Iraq's grid produce a total of roughly 5,000 MW.

Wahid said that Iraq had already spent $ 12 mm levelling the ground in preparation for the Chinese plant.
The Sadr City project, which will include a small refinery, will cost $ 150 mm and be built by an Iranian company, Sunir. That plant is expected to produce about 160 MW of electricity.

Source: Dow Jones & Company
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