The 288MW Azito power plant expansion in Côte d’Ivoire will convert the single-cycle plant into a combined-cycle power plant. Credit: Azito Energie.
The expansion includes the installation of two Alstom GT13E2 gas turbines, two heat recovery steam generators and a 140MW steam turbine generator. Credit: Azito Energie.
The Azito power plant is located near Abidjan in Côte d'Ivoire. Credit: Cobra Group.
The fourth phase will increase the plant’s capacity to 706MW. Credit: Hyundai Motor Group.

A 253MW combined-cycle unit is being added to the existing Azito power plant site near Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, as part of the plant’s fourth phase expansion.

Launched in March 2020, the $370m expansion project will increase the plant’s capacity to 706MW, accounting for 30% of the West African country’s installed capacity.

Operational since 1999, the Azito gas-fired power plant is owned and operated by Azito Energie, which is a subsidiary of Globeleq and Industrial Promotion Services West Africa (IPS-WA).

Globeleq, the UK-based company focused on independent power production in Africa, owns a 77% interest in Azito Energie. IPS-WA, the industrial and infrastructure development arm of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), owns the remaining 23% of the project company.

Azito power plant location and developmental phases

The Azito gas-fired power plant is located near the village of Azito in the Yopougon district, approximately 6km west of the port of Abidjan. The 453MW plant was developed in three phases, under a build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) scheme.

The Côte d’Ivoire Government contracted the construction of the Azito thermal power plant in 1998 to Azito Energie, a consortium comprised of IPS-WA, ABB, and Electricité de France (EDF). In 2010, Globeleq acquired ABB and EDF’s shares in the project to become a shareholder of the plant along with IPS-WA.

The plant’s first phase of development included the installation of a 144MW simple cycle gas turbine, which broke ground in July 1998 and was commissioned in January 1999. The second phase included the addition of another 144MW simple cycle gas turbine, which started operations in February 2000.

In phase three, the plant’s capacity was increased to 430MW through conversion into combined-cycle gas turbine technology in 2015. The third phase expansion was originally planned for 2002 but was delayed due to a political crisis.

Construction works on the $450m expansion project started in March 2013 and were completed in April 2015. The project was mostly funded by lenders, including the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and European development finance institutions led by Proparco and the West African Development Bank (BOAD). IFC provided a $125m loan for the power plant in addition to acting as the lead global arranger of debt financing.

A subsequent upgrade in 2019 further increased the plant’s capacity to 453MW. Azito Energie reached the financial closure and awarded the key contract for the plant’s fourth phase expansion in the first quarter of 2020.

The existing Azito power plant make-up

The existing 453MW combined-cycle power plant is installed with two Alstom GT13E2 gas turbines, two heat recovery steam generators, a 140MW steam turbine generator, one steam condenser with an associated closed loop and an air-cooled cooling water system.

The GT13E2 gas turbine has an operational efficiency of more than 38% in simple-cycle and 53.8% in combined-cycle operations.

This switch from simple-cycle power generation to combined-cycle increased the overall energy-efficiency rate from 29.5% to 44%. The nominal installed capacity of the facility also increased by 50% at a constant fuel gas consumption rate.

The combined-cycle technology installed at the plant makes use of the waste heat generated by the existing gas turbine exhausts to produce steam. The produced steam is used to drive the new steam turbine generator, thereby reducing the need for additional fuels to increase the plant’s capacity.

Gas for the power plant is sourced from the Devon fields (Lion/Panthère), the Foxtrot field and the CNR fields (Espoir/Baobab), with Foxtrot field being the primary gas supplier.

The plant also includes an electrical switchyard operated by Compagnie Ivoirienne d’Electricité (CIE), the National Ivorian Electricity Distribution Company.

Azito power plant’s phase four expansion details

The 253MW new combined-cycle unit being built on the existing plant site will comprise a GT13E2 gas turbine, one heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) with bypass stack, one double pressure steam turbine generator, one air-cooled condenser and associated systems supplied by General Electric (GE).

The GT13E2 gas turbine’s rated capacity will be 181MW while the steam turbine’s nominal power generating capacity will be 72MW.

The existing 453MW plant generates up to 3,130GWh of electricity a year. The fourth-phase expansion will increase the plant’s annual generating capacity by 2,000GWh.

The expanded Azito power plant will generate enough electricity to power nearly 57 million homes in the Côte d’Ivoire.

Offtake of power from Azito power plant expansion

The existing Azito facility supplies baseload electricity to the country through the privately-owned electricity company CIE for transmission to the national grid.

The electricity generated from the expansion project will be sold to the State of Côte d’Ivoire under a 20-year concession agreement.

Financing of Azito power plant expansion

Azito Energie secured  €264m ($294.9m) in debt financing for the plant’s fourth phase expansion from a group of nine institutions.

IFC agreed to provide €46m ($51.3m) while the African Development Bank (AfDB) agreed to provide €50m ($56.2m) for the expansion project.

Other lenders for the project include BOAD, the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), French financial development institution Proparco, the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO), the German Investment Corporation (DEG), the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) and the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO).

Contractors involved

Cobra Group was selected as the engineering procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the Azito power plant’s fourth phase expansion in May 2019.

GE was selected to supply the key equipment including the turbines, generators, condenser and associated systems for the expansion project in February 2020. The contractual scope also includes a 20-year service agreement.

GE also supplied the steam turbine of the existing combined-cycle unit that commenced operations in 2015 and provided the MXL2 upgrade solution, along with Predix asset performance management (APM) software for the two existing gas turbines of the plant in 2019.

Hyundai Engineering and Construction was the EPC contractor for the plant’s third phase expansion, which was completed in 2015.

Azito Operations and Management (Azito O&M), a subsidiary of Globeleq, is responsible for the operations and maintenance of the Azito gas-fired power plant.