Algeria Awards $4.1 Billion Worth of Power Plant Contracts; General Electric Part of $2.15 Billion Deal

By Mike Caggeso
Associate Editor

Algeria kicked off the season of giving before the holidays when the company announced it awarded $4.1 billion in power-plant construction projects to several companies - including a $2.15 billion deal to U.S. industrial giant General Electric Co. (GE) and a $1.98 billion deal to France-based Alstom S.A. - Reuters reported, citing state-owned electricity company, Sonelgaz.

Alstom and Egypt's Orascom Construction Industries will spend 45 months building a 1,200 megawatt combined-cycle plant about 250 miles west of Algiers in the Ain Temouchant region.

GE and Spanish power company Iberdrola S.A. will build another in the El Tarf region, 375 miles east of Algiers. That project is slated to last 48 months.

The new power plants are aimed at meeting local energy demand. In 2005, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that Algeria has the eighth largest natural gas reserves in the world, with 160 trillion cubic feet. The country also clocked in an impressive 4% GDP growth in 2006, according to the EIA. 

"The tender, which attracted real competition, was very transparent," Sonelgaz Chief Executive Noureddine Bouterfa said at a ceremony in Algiers, according to Reuters.

In June, Alstom and GE signed deals totaling $767 million to build power plants in Algeria. And earlier this month, GE struck a deal with Turkmenistan to build two power plants there in exchange for helping the formerly recluse Middle Eastern desert country develop solar energy. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

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