Razon firm starts commercial run of power plant in Iraq

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A COMPANY led by businessman Enrique K. Razon Jr. has started operating a gas-fired power plant in Iraq initially with a capacity of 29.3 megawatt (MW) but scalable by nearly five times.

“We are delighted to start our greenfield power plant in Umm Qasr Port. It is a testament to the potential of Iraq,” Mr. Razon, chairman and chief executive officer of Prime Power Middle East, said in a statement on Thursday.

The plant, which started its commercial operation on Feb. 9 in Umm Qasr, Basra Governorate, is run by Prime Power, a wholly owned subsidiary of Prime Metro Power Holdings Corp. It is designed to deliver 24/7 baseload power to the Umm Qasr Ports Authority Zone.

Prime Power’s discussions with the government of Iraq on its intention to operate a power plant began in 2016. A 23-year agreement with the General Company for Ports of Iraq (GCPI) was signed in 2018.

“Under a joint operation framework with GCPI, we were able to leverage the Basra Governorate’s natural gas resources to develop a first class state of the art facility that adds vital power generation infrastructure and services to state of Iraq,” Mr. Razon said.

Prime Power said the power plant is the first phase of a multi-phase development program. The company is looking to launch the second phase in the fourth quarter of the year.

“We see this plant as the first phase of many as we continue to be long term investors in Iraq and to contribute to its economic and social development,” Mr. Razon said.

Phase one’s current operational capacity is targeted to reach 68.4 MW in the second phase. The plant has room to increase capacity up to 150 MW in the coming years. Its operation will be integrated with a distribution system to support the port industrial zone and surrounding cities.

For his part, Prime Power President and Chief Operating Officer Guillaume Lucci said: “We are pleased to have delivered such critical infrastructure and services to GCPI and the Port of Umm Qasr.”

He said the completion of phase one in less than a year : “is a significant milestone in Prime Power’s strategy to build up an infrastructure portfolio that delivers fast and critical investments to regions in need. We will continue to rest on our strong presence on the ground as we work hand in hand with the government and the communities we serve.” — Arjay L. Balinbin