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Morocco set to increase coal imports

World Coal,

Reuters has announced that Morocco will increase its current 6 million tpa of coal imports by 3.5 million t by 2017, in order to meet demand from a 1320 MW coal-fired power plant that will be constructed by Safi Energy Company (SEC), the government said on Friday.

The contract to build the power plant was originally awarded to UK consortium, International Power Plc (IPP). However, following the merger of IPP and GDF Suez, the latter assumed control of IPP’s contract.

SEC is a joint venture of GDF Suez, Morocco's royal holding Nareva, and Japan's Mitsui. Morocco is investing 4.7 billion dirhams (US$ 550 million) to build a coal port in the southern city of Safi, where the power plant will be located, to import 7 million tpa of coal, the government said in a statement.

The port will supply the SEC plant with 3.5 million tpa. A further 3.5 million tpa will feed a second plant with the same capacity of 1320 MW, to be built when SEC begin operations at their power plant in 2017.

GDF Suez and Nareva won the 25 billion dirhams SEC tender in 2010, Mitsui has joined the joint venture in 2013, while the construction, which is worth an estimated US$ 1.77 billion, was awarded by the company to South Korea's Daewoo Engineering earlier this year.

GDF, Nareva, and Mitsui will invest 30% of the total cost, while they expect bank loans to cover the rest, which would be raised by the start of 2014, a statement from the company said earlier this month.

SEC has signed a 30 year power-purchase agreement with Morocco's state power utility, ONEE. Morocco's current 6 million tpa of imports supply its three coal-fired power plants, which produce 26.7% of the country’s total generating capacity. Morocco wants to meet local consumption using thermal power, and export renewable energy to the European Union.

Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson

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