Abu Dhabi, 14 Oct. 2003 -- The rebuilding of Iraq's power infrastructure, with a rare insight into the country's power sector was the main focus of the POWER-GEN Middle East 2003 Conference Tuesday, which is currently ongoing alongside the exhibition.
Eminent speakers included Dr.Karim Hasan, Director-General, Iraq Electricity Commission, Raad M. Ghazi Al'Haris, Head of Generation & Transmission, Iraq Electricity Commission and Dean Hagerty, Power Project Manager, Bechtel, Iraq.
The panel was moderated by Junior Isles, Managing Editor and Associate Publisher, PennWell Corporation, UK, one of the organisers of the event along with the General Exhibitions Corporation (GEC).
Dr. Karim Hasan kicked off the session providing a historical perspective of Iraq's power sector by presenting facts about Iraq's power plants from the early days, the generating capacity, how it grew over the years and the current capacity after the war.
He said that in 2002, Iraq has a power generating capacity of 9,600 MW compared to 8700 MW in 2000. The country had 29 power stations before the war and the transmission system comprised of two networks, of a 400 kV system and a 132 kV system.
Taking a look at the post-war scenario (April until October 2003), Hasan said Iraq's power infrastructure suffered severe damages especially its transmission lines of 400 kV. Moreover, all the power plants in Iraq are very old and the country is facing an acute shortage of tools and spare parts.
Of the 17 transmission lines of 400 kV destroyed during the war, only eight have been repaired and of the 746 (400 kV) towers that collapsed, only 102 have been repaired to date. Some 79 lines (132 kV) have been repaired out of the 98 lines that were down. Similarly, out of the 262 (132 kV) towers that fell, 96 have been repaired.
"Iraq has adopted a multi-pronged approach to restore the country's electricity infrastructure and by October this year, some 4,400 MW of power generating capacity has been created," he told delegates at the conference.
"By end of 2004 we are aiming to achieve 9,000 MW of generating capacity to meet the rising demand for power," he added.
He said at least $7.8 billion is needed by next year to add some 3,000 MW of additional power and $25 billion upto the year 2007, to achieve generating capacity of 15,000 MW.
Raad M. Ghazi Al'Haris, Head of Generation & Transmission, Iraq Electricity Commission continued the session on Iraq's power sector by shedding light on the first Gulf war scenario and the capacity of Iraq's power sector then. He also went into the recent war and post-war scenario of the country's power sector.
"The condition of Iraq's electrical power system is seriously critical and therefore a comprehensive rehabilitation should start," he told delegates.
"But before that gas units should be erected and diesel generators are needed to cover the shortage of power to start efficient rehabilitation," said Al'Haris.
Dean Hagerty, Power Project Manager - Bechtel provided an overview of the US Aid Programme and Bechtel's role in rebuilding Iraq's power sector. He said Bechtel undertook an assessment programme as well as emergency job orders first. Three power generating stations are underway currently at Baghdad, Kirkuk and Mussayib, he said.
Outlining the approach to the reconstruction programme, he said, they adopted a "team of teams approach" along with Iraq's Ministry of Electricity, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and others.
"There are excellent results already today and they are improving. The joint operations will benefit the Iraqi populace," he emphasised.
However, he said there are many challenges to be encountered, the main being security and the process of funding the power sector. "It is a real challenge, it is difficult but it is rewarding," he concluded.
POWER-GEN Middle East is a PennWell event. For more information, visit http://pgme03.events.pennnet.com/.