Iraq approves $540 mn electricity deal with Alstom

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The Iraqi cabinet has approved a $540 million contract for French firm Alstom to build an 182.4 megawatt gas power plant in central Iraq, a government spokesman said on Wednesday.

The plant, which should be up and running 18 months after the signature of the contract, is to be built in Mansuriya in the Diyala province, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) northeast of the capital, Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement.

The cabinet, which met on Tuesday, chose Alstom over the Iranian company company Mabna "because the offer was more attractive and less expensive," he said.

Alstom has already been selected to refurbish a gas power plant in the central province of Najaf.

More than eight years after the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, Iraq still suffers from a severe shortage of electricity.

Iraqis are left with the choice of having only a few hours of electricity per day in a country where temperatures top 50 degrees in the summer, or getting extra power from private generators.

© 2011 AFP

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