In a major initiative to boost Qatar’s power and water sectors, HH the Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani laid the foundation stone for the country’s largest integrated water and power plant at Ras Girtas, north of Ras Laffan, yesterday.
The $3.9bn plant, with a capacity of 2,730mw when it is completed in two years, is also one of the largest in the Middle East region. It would supply 63mn gallons of potable water a day, when the second phase is completed in September next year.
The plant would be wholly commissioned in April 2011, company officials said yesterday.
The first phase of the plant would be completed in May next year and would provide 1,612mw of electricity.
The stakeholders in the Ras Girtas Power Company are Qatar Electricity and Water Company (45%), Qatar Petroleum (15%), Mitsui Corporation of Japan (10), GDF Suez of France (20%), Japan’s Chubu Electric company and the remaining held by Shikoku Electric Power Company.
Speaking at the ceremony, HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Industry Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah said the government’s policy of private participation in power and water sectors, initiated in 1999, had helped the country attract a number of foreign investors in the utilities sector.
“The latest project, which could be one of the largest in the whole region, is another example of such a foreign participation in the power and water sectors,” the minister said.
Later the minister said the new plant would provide surplus of water and electricity to the country and it would be able to meet the increasing requirements of the country’s residents in coming years.
Al-Attiyah said the economic growth recorded by the country continued to be one of the highest in the world in the last few years and demand for water and electricity continued to grow in unparalleled levels.
Speaking later, Qatar Water and Electricity Company general manager Fahd al-Mohannadi said the new plant is expected to meet 30% of the country’s demand in electricity when it is completed.
Representing GDF Suez at the ceremony, CEO of the French company Dirk Beeusaert said: “Qatar government’s vision in steering the country’s economy has undoubtedly whetted the appetite of major industrial companies for investing in this promising territory”.
GDF Suez, he said, pledges its continued commitment to Ras Laffan and to the development of infrastructure facilities for the future of Qatar.
Beeusaert said his company is currently building a 2,745 mw plant in Marafiq in Saudi Arabia. The company is also building a 1,500 mw plant, Shuweihat 2, in Abu Dhabi and another 1,234 mw plant in Bahrain, he added.
The company CEO said in the Middle East, GDF Suez is the leading private power developer with a direct equity interest in nearly 14,000mw and more than 2.5mn cubic metres of water a day.
Ras Girtas Power Company chairman Sayeed al-Kaabi also spoke at the ceremony, in which several top Qatari officials and foreign diplomats took part.
HE the Minister of State of Energy Dr Mohamed Saleh al-Saddah was among those present.
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