by Khaled Neimat | Feb 28,2012 | 00:02

QATRANEH — His Majesty King Abdullah on Monday inaugurated a multimillion 373-megawatt power plant in the southern Governorate of Karak that is expected to increase electricity generation by 12 per cent.

The JD420 million project near the town of Qatraneh, 100km south of Amman, is the second in the Kingdom in terms of capacity, said Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Qutaiba Abu Qura during his remarks at the inauguration ceremony.

“This project is an important component of the government’s strategy to meet the country’s growing energy demand,” Abu Qura said.

He highlighted the government’s strategy on means to secure sufficient power supply and contribute to the Kingdom’s economic progress through the participation of the private sector in major projects such as the Qatraneh Power Plant.

Under this strategy, Abu Qura said Jordan has attracted a number of international companies with experience in the field of oil shale technology to extract oil from the vast shale deposits in the south and produce electricity including the so-called Shell technology. He also cited a deal concluded with BP to develop the Risheh gas field in the northeast for the same purposes.

He also noted that the national energy strategy sets a goal to increase the renewable energy contribution to the total energy mix to reach 10 per cent by the year 2020, stressing that the endorsement of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Law is “a big step towards that goal”.

According to Abu Qura, the new power plant run by the Qatraneh Electricity Power Company “ushers in a new era in the Jordanian power sector, where large projects that serve the interest of the public are implemented and managed with the participation of the private sector”.

The electric generation facility features a gas/oil-fired combined cycle.

With its 25-year lifespan, the plant age is expected to cover the duration of the concession agreement signed between a consortium of Korea Electric Power Corporation and Saudi Xenel International, and the government.

The two sides signed the agreement, based on the build-own-operate system, in October 2009, after the government completed an international bidding process, ending with selecting the Korean-Saudi consortium.