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Thu 28 Jan 2010 01:55 AM

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Qatar expected to award power deal in 2010

Gulf state faces potential power shortage from late 2012 without new plant.

Qatar, the world's largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter, is expected to award a deal for a new 2,000 megawatt power plant this year, a senior official from the Qatar Power Company said on Wednesday.

The small Gulf Arab state faces a potential power shortage of around 300 to 350 megawatts (MW) from late 2012 without the new plant, said Abdulsattar al Rasheed, executive managing director of Qatar Power Company during a MEED conference.

Power demand in the Gulf Arab state was growing at an average of around 10 percent per year, he said. Qatar has one of the highest growth rates in the region, fuelled by the start up of a number of giant projects to export gas, and is the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The new power plant would cost around $2.5 billion and $3 billion to build, he said. If the contract was awarded by the end of this year, the plant could be built in time to meet 2012-2013 demand, he said.

Without it, peak summer demand in 2013 would hit 9,400 MW, while supply would be around 9050 MW. Power demand in the Gulf peaks in the summer when the population cranks up air conditioning units.

Demand in 2010 would peak at 6,572 MW, Rasheed said, while maximum available supply would be 7,589 MW.

Qatar could start exporting up to 600 MW of electricity to its neighbours through the Gulf power grid this summer, he added. That was the maximum volume of power the grid could handle, he said.

Last year, a deal for Qatar to sell 400 MW to Kuwait during the summer fell through. The deal failed because the Gulf grid was unready to handle such large volumes, Rasheed said. Industry sources at the time said it was because of a dispute over price.

Qatar may sell to Kuwait this summer, he said.

He added: "If they have a shortage, we have a surplus."

Qatar Electricity and Water Company, Qatar's power plant operator, has made its first bid for a plant outside Qatar, Rasheed said.

The plant was in the Gulf region, but he declined to give further details.

Qatar Power Company is 55 percent owned by Qatar power plant operator the Qatar Electricity and Water Company (QEWC).

A 2,000 megawatt plant called Mesaieed A, in the industrial port of Mesaieed, would complete start up this year, he said.

Another 2,730 MW plant called Ras Laffan C, at the port of Ras Laffan, would start up in 2011, he said. (Reuters)

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