Bahrain’s Crown Prince and Commander In-Chief of the Defence Force, His Highness, Shaikh Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, yesterday inaugurated the first private power plant in Bahrain. The plant is owned by Al-Ezzel Power Company (AEPC) and was co-developed by Gulf Investment Corporation (GIC) and Suez Energy International (SEI).

During his visit, His Highness toured the plant, discussed various aspects of the operation with senior executives and initiated the start up of a gas turbine.

GIC and SEI won the right to develop the project in a hotly-contested bidding process and the project won three international awards.

The $500 million plant was completed on time and in under 30 months. The first phase was completed on 30th April 2006 and made available 470 Megawatts of generating capacity to the Bahrain national grid during the summer of 2006. The second and final phase II will add 480 MW bringing total capacity to 950 MW.

The state-of-the art combined cycle power plant will help meet Bahrain’s growing needs for electricity resulting from a rapidly expanding economy. AEPC will account for 30% of the generating capacity available to the Bahrain electricity grid. AEPC will provide electricity to the Ministry of Electricity and Water of Bahrain under a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement. The plant is fired with natural gas supplied by the Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO).

The GIC Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Hisham Al-Razzuqi, attended the ceremony along with Bahraini Ministers, members of the Advisory Council, senior government officials, diplomats and industry executives.

“The participation of Gulf Investment Corporation in this project is in accordance with its role in supporting the development of the economies of the GCC countries,” said Mr. Hisham Al-Razzuqi during the inauguration ceremony. “GIC is a significant investor in Bahrain with investments in seven projects with a total cost of about $2 billion. GIC is also a major investor in power and water with investments in four projects worth a total of $6.6 billion.”

“Today is the beginning of a long partnership between Al-Ezzel Power Company and the Ministry of Electricity and Water, a partnership that should last a minimum of 20 years,” said Shafic Ali, AEPC chairman and GIC executive. “Together, we are here to serve the people and business community of the Kingdom of Bahrain by providing power for their comfort, safety, economic well being, viewing pleasureā€¦in fact, power for all facets of life.”