A little-known foreign company has offered to build a new and big thermal power plant in Armenia, the government said on Thursday.
Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian’s cabinet made the announcement after approving the basic terms of a corresponding contract which is due to be signed with the company called Anaklia IEP Holding.
According to a government statement, the natural gas-fired plant will have a design capacity of 540 megawatts, making it more powerful than the nuclear power station at Metsamor generating around 40 percent of Armenia’s electricity.
Energy Minister Yervand said Anaklia IEP is ready to fully finance the plant’s construction estimated to cost roughly $600 million. In return, he said, the company expects tax preferences and government guarantees of sufficient volumes of gas supplies to the facilities.
Neither the government statement nor Zakharian gave further details of the impending deal with the foreign investor. It was thus not clear where the plant will be located and when its construction will start. There was also no word on who owns Anaklia IEP.
Anaklia is the name of a small town and seaside resort in western Georgia. The Georgian government called last month an international tender for the construction of a big port in that Black Sea area. The port is supposed to have a liquefied natural gas terminal.
Neftegaz.ru, a Russian news service specializing in oil and gas industries, suggested that Anaklia IEP is a subsidiary of Icahn Enterprises, a New York-based holding company involved in a wide range of business activities.
Thermal power plants currently account for around one-third of Armenian electricity production. Two of them are located in the central town of Hrazdan and owned by the Russian energy giants Gazprom and RAO Unified Energy System. Gazprom inaugurated its Hrazdan facility during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Armenia last December.
Another, state-owned plant located in Yerevan was reconstructed in 2007-2010 with a $247 million loan provided by the Japanese government.