(EnergyAsia, July 20 2012, Friday) — US conglomerate GE said it is working to boost electricity output in Iraq’s Kurdistan region as well as localise operations at its one-year-old energy manufacturing technology centre in Saudi Arabia.

The NYSE-listed company said it has secured a contract from independent power producer Mass Global Investment Company to provide and install steam turbine technology to increase the efficiency and the output of the Erbil Power Plant in Iraq’s Kurdistan region. In operation since late 2008, the Erbil plant plays a vital role in meeting the growing power needs of the oil-rich region.

GE said it will supply two steam turbines that will be used to convert the Erbil plant from simple to combined-cycle operation, boosting plant output by 500 megawatts, enough additional electricity to serve 100,000 households.

When completed in the second half of 2014, the combined-cycle plant will increase thermal efficiency to more than 48%, making Erbil among the most efficient power plants in Iraq. The GE C-7 steam turbines will join eight GE Frame 9E gas turbines already operating at the site.

ENKA Construction & Industry Co (ENKA), the Turkish engineering, procurement and construction company, has been selected to build the new combined-cycle power plant. 

MassGlobal chairman Ahmad Ismail said:

“Converting our Erbil facility to combined-cycle service supports the Kurdistan Regional Government’s policy to increase the thermal efficiency of its power generation facilities. This new agreement builds on our growing relationship with GE, a global technology leader, whose proven and reliable advanced energy technology has been employed in our gas power facilities since 2006.”
Joseph Anis, GE Energy’s president and CEO for the Middle East, said the latest agreement “builds on our growing relationship with Mass Global, supporting its efforts to enable a reliable and efficient supply of electricity needed to fuel the growth and development of the Kurdistan region. This agreement also reflects GE’s ongoing commitment to support Iraq in boosting its power generation and infrastructure growth.”
In Saudi Arabia, GE recently celebrated the first anniversary of its one-billion-riyal Energy Manufacturing Technology Center in the city of Dammam by achieving a series of firsts in technology, customer services and the development of local talent. (US$1=3.75 riyal).

GE said the center achieved key milestones in the delivery of service technology to Saudi and global customers, enabling enhanced operational efficiencies along the entire energy value chain, while continuing to drive the development of local human resources.

In its first year, the center serviced 450 gas turbines that power the kingdom, with GE today supporting the generation of half of its electricity through over 500 turbines installed at various sites.

GE said the center also extended service to more than 50 key customers in Saudi Arabia and across the Middle East, Africa and Europe, underling its competencies to help local and global customers achieve operational efficiencies with advanced and localised technology and services.

The center is employing about 400 technologists and training another 100 under the Saudi GE Joint Technical Program (JTP). Participants are being trained in key areas of maintenance and repair of gas turbines, electrical motors and generators that are critical to the efficient generation of electricity in the kingdom. More than 60% of the center’s employees are Saudi nationals.

A joint venture with Ali A. Tamimi Co, the center includes a plant to manufacture high technology equipment for the power, water and oil and gas industries; a service and repair centre for advanced turbine equipment; and a training facility that offers the latest technology and managerial courses for college students, field engineers and other power industry professionals throughout the region.

Recently, GE signed another strategic partnership agreement with TVTC to annually train 150 Saudi technical graduates in the center.

“These achievements are in line with the kingdom’s Vision 2020 goals of promoting localisation and empowering national talent towards a knowledge-based economy,” the company said.

Joseph Anis, President and CEO for GE Energy in the Middle East said:

“Through the center, GE is proud to be serving the technology and service needs of its long-term customers including Saudi Electricity Company, Saudi Aramco, Marafiq and SABIC.  We are also proud of the center’s focus on technical talent development to support the kingdom’s growing energy infrastructure and further establish the kingdom as a technology hub for the global energy industry.”