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UAE’s UTICO commissions RAK utility, plans plant

Private utility provider UTICO has commissioned a $128 million water and power plant in Ras al-Khaimah (RAK).

March 30, 2011 4:02 by

Private utility provider UTICO has commissioned a 470 million dirhams ($128 million) water and power plant in the northern emirate of Ras al-Khaimah (RAK) and plans to invest 2 billion dirhams in 2011, its chairman said.

The firm, a unit of Abu Dhabi’s Ghantoot Group, is building the UAE’s first coal-fired power plant with an investment of 1.4 billion dirhams to meet rising power demand in the northern emirates, said Rashid Mehran al Baloushi.
Earlier this month, the UAE president ordered a $1.4 billion spend on utilities in the northern emirates.
The UTICO water and power plant commissioned last month in Ras al-Khaimah has a capacity of 24.2 million gallons per day (mgpd) of water and 70 megawatts (MW) of power.
“It is the first privately backed independent water and power project in the UAE done under concession with the RAK government and with no offtake guarantee,” Baloushi said.
Currently, half the capacity is supplied to industrial consumers in Ras al-Khaimah.
The company has signed an in-principle agreement with the Federal Electricity & Water Authority (FEWA) for sale of the remaining 50 percent capacity, Baloushi said.
The project was funded by 60 percent equity and 40 percent debt and RAK Gas is the fuel (gas) provider.
Al Baloushi said the coal-fired plant, the first in the UAE, is being built in a joint venture with Gulf Cement and RAK Power over three phases.
The first phase commissioning is after 14 months from the start of project work.
“We are in final negotiations and expect to launch the project this year,” he said.
Talks are underway with RAK Minerals to supply coal from its mines in Indonesia.
“Our investment outlay for 2011 is two billion dirhams. That includes the coal-fired plant and another 600 million dirhams in other water and recycling projects,” he said.
(Reporting by Stanley Carvalho; editing by Jason Neely)

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