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By Kevin Baxter
Iraqi Minister of Electricity Kareem Waheed has announced that his department has awarded the US utilities giant General Electric (GE) a multi billion dollar contract to build 56 power generation units.
“The ministry has abandoned the patching-up methods and embarked on an integrated strategy to overhaul power in Iraq,” Waheed is quoted by the Aswat Al Iraq news agency as saying.
“The ministry will rehabilitate two units in al-Nasseriya steam-operated power plant through a $33 million contract,” he added.
Under the agreement, GE Energy is providing heavy-duty frame 9E multi-fuel gas turbines capable of supplying 7,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity.
The Government of Iraq plans to install the units at 10 key sites around the country to provide needed support for the electricity grid.
However there seems to be some discrepancy over the value of the contract. The initial agreement signed in December of last year valued the 56 gas turbine units at US$3 billion while the latest reports from Iraq value them at $7 billion.