Yemen’s 400MW gas-fired plant to start power supply in 2014

The bulk of preparations for the launch of a second gas-fuelled power plant in Yemen's Marib province are complete, the Yemeni Ministry of Electricity and Energy announced recently. The plant is slated to have a capacity of 400 MW and enter into service in mid-2014, according to officials.

According to ministry data, Yemen's per capita daily electric power generation sits at half a kilowatt-hour, compared to 20 kilowatt-hours daily in Germany, five in Jordan and four in Egypt. The new power plant comes as part of a strategic ministry plan to bridge the deficit in power for household use, said Tawfiq Sufyan, director of the ministry's technical office. The ministry had signed an agreement with an Indian company in late 2010 to build the project, but implementation was delayed, he said.

Ministry spokesman Sadeq al-Rouhani told Al-Shorfa said, "With generators and turbines being installed, work is under way to finish equipping the plant. We have completed 80 percent of the work so far." Yemen has a power deficit, he said, and "entering 'Marib 2' into service will increase our power generation capacity and reduce the power deficit for household use to minimum levels".

"Marib 2" comprises four generators, two of which have arrived at al-Hodeidah port, al-Rouhani said, adding that the plant's four new turbines will arrive soon. Yemenis endure power blackouts on a regular basis, which creates economic problems for many people, said Abdul Qader Basaleh, head of power generation at the Public Electricity Corporation. "The entry of the new Marib plant into service will solve the problem and increase generation capacity and the per capita share of electricity, which is one of the lowest in the world," he said.

Sabotage of power transmission lines that extend from the gas-fired Marib plant to Sanaa is said to be a repeated problem that has cost the state millions of dollars and plunged the capital and other areas into darkness. In view of these acts of sabotage, officials have examined the possibility of building the plant in a different province, according to Tawfiq Sufyan. "The subject of moving the plant to al-Hodeidah was in fact raised, but we faced two problems. The first was that transmitting electricity from al-Hodeidah to other regions would require installing new transmission lines, and this is prohibitively expensive, and the transmission lines installed to transmit power from the first Marib plant were also designed to transmit power from the second and third plants."

Additionally, a gas pipeline would have to be constructed from Marib to al-Hodeidah, another expensive task, he added. Sufyan said the ministry plans to build two more gas-fired power plants in Hadramaut province, one with a 40 MW capacity in Al-Aqla district and another with twice that capacity in al-Kharif. The two power plants will be built within the next nine months and will make the province entirely self-sufficient, he said.