09/01/2018 17:23 AST

Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) is likely to engage with international banks to raise finance for the USD 1.6bn Saudi-Egypt high voltage direct current (HVDC) interconnection project, said a source at General Electric Company (GE). The source added that there are several other projects for which SEC plans to raise finance but refrained from revealing the names of the banks as he was not directly related with the project.

GE had earlier completed the Badr substation, which is expected to play a strategic role in the proposed project. Located in Badr city of the Cairo Governorate, the new 500/220kV gas-insulated substation has been developed for the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC). It is equipped to enable the supply of 1.5GW or 50% of the total exchange capacity of the interconnection project.

SEC and Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC) are planning for a JV of the Saudi-Egyptian grid that will allow both countries to generate and share an additional 3GW of power during peak hours via a 20km underwater cable crossing the Gulf of Aqaba. Egypt plans to transfer electricity to Saudi during Saudi’s peak consumption time in the afternoon, while Saudi Arabia will do the same for the former during its peak consumption times in the evening.

Of the total project cost, EEHC will invest around USD 600m, with the rest to be invested by SEC. The former has already reached its financial closure by signing loan agreements with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD), the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED), and its own resources.

Earlier, Tractebel Engineering was awarded a contract to carry out a feasibility study covering the interconnection of the two countries' national grids. Canadian firm SNC-Lavalin won the contract to provide project consultancy services. Siemens AG, Alstom SA, and ABB Limited won contracts to build three stations. Italy-based Prysmian Group won a contract to connect switch stations in both the countries and install a 16km submarine cable across the Gulf of Aqaba.

The project scope of work involves establishing two power stations of constant AC voltage of 500kV in Badr City, a switch station for linking the antenna line with the marine cable in Egypt's Nabq City, two generator power stations of 500kV East of Al-Madina and Tabouk, a switch station for the antenna lines and marine cable links in Saudi territory, an antenna line with a length of 450km starting from Badr City power stations to Nabq City’s switch station, an antenna line with a length of 850km from switch station to East of Al-Madina power station passing by the Tabouk station, linking the two states switch stations using ground cables in Egyptian and Saudi lands and a marine cable of 500kV through the Al-Aqaba Gulf for nearly 16km.

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