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Saudi Electricity eyes more private participation

SEC may opt for more IPPs for big industrial customers.

December 22, 2010 10:06 by

Saudi Electricity Co  (SEC) may involve private firms in building more power plants to feed big consumers such as state oil giant Saudi Aramco , SEC’s chief executive said on Tuesday.

State-controlled SEC plans to invest $80 billion to boost capacity to at least 70,000 megawatts by 2020 from an installed capacity of 50,000 MW now to meet domestic demand rising at 8 percent annually.

The private sector would contribute through independent power producers (IPPs), investing $24 billion of the total $80 billion, Abdullah al-Hussayen, Saudi minister of water and power, said in October.

SEC plans to build six IPPs to add 10,000 MW by 2017 with investments of $12 billion, SEC’s CEO Ali Saleh al-Barrak told Reuters on the sidelines of a company event.

“This is what we have today in our plan and we are revising it every 2 years and probably we may add some more power plants,” Barrak said.

“We have in mind, in discussion now a number of power plants which will be for new consumers, probably one of them will be in Rabigh — a new one which is not on the list — but this is for specific customers, there are big consumers they need high capacity 500 MW-600 MW,” he said.

Barrak said SEC was looking to serve big consumers which would need extra capacity by bringing in private investors to build power plants.

“We invest in it with the private sector and we sell power to industrial consumers, some of them like PetroRabigh  and Saudi Aramco and others,” he said.

Aramco generates 1,063 MW of power and 4.4 million pounds of steam per hour from four facilities. It has expected its power demand to grow to 3,600 MW by 2010.

The state oil firm plans to expand the capacity at the four facilities and add new facilities at two more sites by setting up a power firm.

SEC has now projects under construction to add 7,000 MW of capacity in the next two years, Barrak told reporters on the sidelines of the same event.

(Reporting by Reem Shamseddine; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

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