Globeleq expects to begin commercial operation of the expansion project at the existing 288MW Azito gas-to-power plant near Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire in early 2015 as scheduled.

The company has set the commercial start date when all the parties reached financial close on the project in February 2013.

Located near the major port city of Abidjan, the Azito power plant has been in operation since 1999 and is ideally placed close to both natural gas resources and a lagoon with the potential for the cooling of the plant in the future.

Owned by Globeleq (76.9%) and Azito Energie (23.1%), the project will attract a total investment of $430m, including $344m of debt financed through a combination of $295m from a consortium of DFIs and $49m from Banque Ouest Africaine de Development; and $86m in equity from Azito Energie.

The expansion project calls for the conversion of the existing 288MW simple cycle plant to a 426MW combined cycle power plant, representing an increase of 138MW.

As part of the expansion, the plant will add a condensing steam turbine, which is powered by the exhaust heat of the existing turbines that increases power output by almost 50% with no extra natural gas.

The major on-site works at the project include placing around 330 foundation piles for construction of the major equipment and other buildings for the new area, while the new steam turbine and electric generator are being manufactured and will be transported to the site by mid-2014.

According to the company, foundations are being prepared for the two heat recovery boilers that will provide the steam supply for the new steam turbine.

“The Azito power plant is ideally placed close to both natural gas resources and a lagoon with the potential for the cooling of the plant in the future.”

The conversion of Azito will increase the electricity supply in the country by 15% and provide a third of the electricity capacity in Cote d’Ivoire by 2015.

The project will sell the additional electricity to the state through a 20-year concession as well as contribute annual government revenues of $7.55m through corporate taxes over the next five years.

EPC contractor, Hyundai Engineering & Construction currently employs more than 200 local workers for various construction activities and expects to create approximately 800 direct jobs during the entire construction period.

Globeleq vice-president for engineering and construction Jake McConnell said the company is moving ahead with the construction at Azito as scheduled.

“There has been excellent co-operation and support for this project and we are fully aware how important the successful completion of the expansion is to the country,” Jake said.

Image: Globeleq expects to complete Azito plant conversion project on schedule. Photo: courtesy of Globeleq.