Siemens CEO pushes plans to boost Iraqi power infrastructure

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Siemens (SIEGn.DE) said its boss Joe Kaeser met Iraq’s prime minister on Sunday to discuss a proposal by the German company to expand the Middle East nation’s power production.

Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser addresses a news conference in Munich, Germany, August 2, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

The German engineering group said it was proposing a deal to add 11 gigawatt (GW) of capacity over four years, saying this would boost the country’s capacity by nearly 50 percent.

People pass Siemens flags ahead of the company’s annual shareholders meeting in Munich, Germany, January 31, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

It did not give a value, but such a contract would be worth several billion euros based on previous comparable deals.

Iraq has a wide gap between electricity consumption and supply. Peak demand in the summer, when people turn on air conditioners due to high temperatures, is about 21 GW, far exceeding the 13 GW the grid is currently provides, experts say.

Kaeser said in a statement after meeting Prime Minister Al-Abadi that they had “discussed the comprehensive Siemens roadmap to build a better future for the Iraqi people”.

“In Egypt, we have done the same and successfully built up the power infrastructure in record time with the highest efficiency,” he said.

In 2015, Siemens signed an 8 billion euro ($9.4 billion) deal with Egypt to supply gas and wind power plants to add 16.4 gigawatts of capacity to the country’s power grid, marking the group’s single biggest order.

The proposal for Iraq, first pitched in February, would include cutting Iraq’s energy losses, introducing smart grids, expanding transmission grids, upgrading existing plants and adding new capacity.

The group would also help the government secure funding from international commercial banks and export credit agencies with German government support, creating thousands of jobs in Iraq.

Siemens would donate a $60 million grant for software for Iraqi universities, it said.

Reporting by Christoph Steitz and Alexander Huebner; Editing by Louise Heavens and Edmund Blair

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