France Wins $52m Power Distribution Contract in Basra

Iraq signed deals worth $52 million with France's Schneider Electric and Areva to build 15 power distribution stations in the southern oil hub of Basra, the province's deputy governor, Ahmed Hameed, said on Sunday.

Schneider Electric, has won a $29 million contract to build eight distribution stations, while Areva was awarded a $23 million deal to build seven plants.

The projects would be financed by the province's share in oil revenue and don't need the approval of the Ministry of Electricity in Baghdad.

The province is also in talks with a Saudi private company to supply it with power turbines that could provide an extra 150 megawatts, Hameed said.

Last summer, days of protests in the Shi'ite south, including Basra, over crippling power cuts forced the then electricity minister to step down.

The national grid usually allocates 950 MW of power to Basra, but in case of any technical failure, the supply could fall to less than half of that amount, which is not enough to cover its needs, said Hameed.

Iraq plans to boost power capacity to 27,000 MW in four years and would need to invest at least $3 billion to $4 billion per year to reach that target.

(Sources: Bloomberg, Reuters)

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