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Syria seeking private investment in power sector

Bidding for first private power plant to commence in Q2 2011.

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Syria is to start tendering for a first private power plant.
Syria is to start tendering for a first private power plant.

 Syria wants international companies to set up the country's first private power generation plant north of the capital Damascus at a cost of about $300 million as it seeks to open up more of its economy to foreign investment, writes the Dow Jones Newswire.

Investors have until September 27 to pre-qualify ahead of bidding for the project in the second quarter of 2011, according to Syria's Public Establishment of Electricity for Generation and Transmission, or PEEGT.

The gas-fired, or heavy fuel oil fired power plant to be located at Al Nasserieh, is expected to have a capacity of up to 250 megawatts of electricity and investors will be offered a 20-year concession to operate the facility, the PEEGT said.

The project is the latest sign of reform to Syria's economy, which for decades has remained tightly controlled by the state. Investors are plowing into Syria amid ambitions by the government of President Bashar al-Assad to liberalise the economy.
Potential investors in the power plant "will need to have the financial capacity and experience in implementing power generation projects," said PEEGT. The International Finance Corporation, or IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is advising the Syrian government on the project. U.K. consultants Mott MacDonald and Allen & Overy are also advising.

An IFC official involved with the project said the plant will help Syria promote private sector participation in infrastructure and that a public-private partnership law is under discussion.

"The project entails one power plant for the moment, but should open up for more, it is expected to come online by the beginning 2013," he said, adding that the project could cost up to $300 million to develop depending on its final size.

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