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Booming Morocco opts for GE gas turbines

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
Rabat, Morocco (UPI) Jul 30, 2010
Morocco's strong economic growth and growing demand for electricity have landed GE and French Cegelec a $260 million contract to equip the country's national electricity grid with fuel-flexible gas turbine technology.

The turbines will be installed at the Kenitra power plant, about 25 miles north of the capital, and will help the Office National de l'Electricite, the state-run power utility, to meet an increasing demand for electricity.

GE and consortium partner Cegelec SAS received ONE's contract that totals more than 200 million euros. GE will supply three Frame 9E gas turbines that offer the flexibility to burn heavy fuel oil, with distillate as a backup.

The new, 300-megawatt power plant in seaside Kenitra is part of the Moroccan government's plan to develop and modernize the nation's harbors to help support economic growth. The plan calls for commercial traffic in Morocco's harbors to increase more than three-fold between 2010 and 2030.

"Morocco's electricity consumption is increasing by 6-8 percent a year," said Fouad El Kaouri, director for realization of engineering and production projects of ONE. "In addition to helping to meet this demand, the new power plant is a key to the expansion and modernization of the port of Kenitra, part of the overall plan to upgrade six strategic harbors throughout the country."

He said the expansion of the Kenitra harbor will support the exportation of products from Gharb, a key agricultural region of Morocco.

The Kenitra project marks the second time ONE has selected GE's Frame 9E gas turbines. Three similar machines were supplied three years ago for the Mohammedia project, which also uses heavy fuel oil.

"We are very pleased to again have the opportunity to provide technology that will help meet Morocco's need for reliable power to support its strong economic growth," said Ricardo Cordoba, GE Energy President, Western Europe & North Africa.

"With their quick installation times and their capability to burn a variety of fuels including heavy fuel oil, our 9E gas turbines are an excellent fit for ONE's projects," said Cordoba.

The 9E gas turbine is the workhorse of GE's 50-hertz fleet. With more than 450 units installed, the fleet has accumulated more than 22 million hours of utility and industrial service worldwide.

The turbine's flexible fuel handling capability allows the 9E to accommodate a wide range of fuels including natural gas, light and heavy distillate oil, naphtha, crude and residual oil. The Kenitra 9E gas turbines will be produced at GE Energy's Belfort facilities in France.

GE is a diversified infrastructure, finance and media company engaged in aircraft engines, power generation, financial services, healthcare and television programming, and employs about 300,000 people worldwide.



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