Powering Iraq During COVID-19
30 June 2020
GE Gas Power completed services on four 9F.03 gas turbines, two steam turbines and six generators at Iraq’s Besmaya Power Plant safely and on time, while continuing to execute wider operations and maintenance works at the site despite the many challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
These service activities reduced the risk of unplanned downtime of power generation equipment at the site, enabling the plant to reliably supply up to 3 GW of electricity to the national grid to help meet the peak summer demand for power, GE said.
4.5 GW facility
Owned by Mass Group Holding (MGH), Besmaya is Iraq’s largest power plant. Phases 1 and 2 of the project can generate up to 3 GW and Phase 3, which is currently under construction, is expected to add up to another 1.5 GW. The facility is the first one in the country outside the Kurdistan region to be developed by an independent power producer on a build-own-operate basis for the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity. GE has supplied eight gas turbines, four steam turbines and 12 generators that are covered by a 20-year service agreement and is also responsible for O&M services for Phases 1 and 2 of the project to ensure smooth operations at the site. Additionally, GE won a contract to supply four 9F.04 gas turbines and four generators for Phase 3. Much of the electricity generated at Besmaya is fed to the capital Baghdad and surrounding areas and its uninterrupted operations are critical to power local healthcare facilities, homes, businesses and more.
“The logistical and mobility constraints resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak led to several unexpected difficulties in carrying out the required service works at Besmaya, including delays in the arrivals of parts and challenges in access to technical experts,” said Ahmad Ismail, Chairman of MGH. “However, the determination, flexibility and efficiency GE displayed by being able to draw on local teams on the ground, remote support from experts and access to a global supply chain, enabled us to keep the plant operational with high levels of reliability and efficiency and to deliver on our commitments.”
Beginning in February, over 110 GE and FieldCore (a GE-owned field services execution company) staff members liaised closely with MGH to execute the services safely and as per schedule. The works conducted included the first phase of Hot Gas Path inspection services of the gas turbines, steam turbine minor inspections and generator MAGIC (Miniature Air Gap Inspection Crawler) inspections. Experts based in the Middle East and Europe liaised with the local site team through digital tools, video conferences and phone calls on a daily basis to remotely support mechanical and commissioning works, identify and transport stocks of parts that needed to be replaced and keep track of overall project progress. To reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19, additional hygiene, health and safety measures were implemented at the site, including more frequent disinfection and cleaning activities, thermal screenings of everyone entering the site, distribution of additional mandatory personal protective equipment such as gloves and masks, COVID-19 prevention training sessions, accommodation for staff on-site, as well as other precautions.
“As we work through these exceptional times, our resolve to support the Ministry of Electricity and people of Iraq by providing the electricity needed to power everyday life, growth and progress remains unchanged,” said Joseph Anis, president and CEO of GE Gas Power, Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. “Our top priority remains the safety of our people, while continuing to deliver results for our customers and the communities we serve. I would like to thank the supportive staff at GE and MGH who stayed away from their loved ones for months, working long hours to secure reliable power supplies during this unprecedented period and for the hot summer months ahead. Together, we are honored to make a positive difference to the lives of millions of Iraqi citizens.”
GE and FieldCore have up to 300 people across Iraq. The company has supported the development of the country’s energy infrastructure for over 50 years and since 2011, helped to bring up to 15 GW of power online across Iraq, including up to 1.4 GW in conflict affected areas such as Diyala and Mosul. The company has also helped bring over US$2.4 billion in financing for energy sector projects in Iraq in collaboration with export credit agencies, commercial banks and other organizations.