Limak unveils plan to extend Hamitabat electricity plant
One of the fastest-growing energy companies in Turkey plans to build two new units with a capacity of up to 600MW, at the gas-fired Hamitabat power plant, following its successful bid for the 1.2GW state-owned plant on Wednesday evening.
A source at Limak Dogalgaz Elektrik Uretim told ICIS shortly after the auction that it was looking to invest an additional $1.2bn (€793m) if the sale is rubber-stamped by prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The acquisition of Hamitabat for €105m by the company is part of its long-term ambition to have up to 5GW in operation within the next 10 years, the source said.
He explained that Limak was expecting to build a gas-fired unit and a steam unit with a combined capacity of anything between 500MW and 600MW. The construction of the units would take place in two stages, but there was no timeline specified.
"As soon as we have the official approval we will go ahead with the construction," the source said. "Our aim is to start the first stage as soon as possible, and we are now in the process of talking to equipment providers."
Limak already has in operation 450MW of hydro generation. It also has 300MW of hydro generation under construction and has obtained a licence for another 400MW.
"At the moment, we have 1.15GW of hydro production in various stages, but we are planning to build thermal generation from local coal," the source added.
The acquisition of the 1.2GW Hamitabat power plant is a landmark event not only for Limak, as it diversifies its generation portfolio, but also for the Turkish electricity sector.
Limak, together with its partners Kolin and Cengiz, have also recently acquired Turkey's largest electricity distribution network Bogazici for €1.47bn, and won the tender for the Akdeniz distribution network. It also operates the Uludag and Camlibel distribution companies (see EDEM 14 December 2013).
"We are taking a very active position in distribution, trading and generation," the source added.
The transfer of Hamitabat from the state-owned incumbent EUAS to the private sector has been on the agenda for two years as the tender for the plant has been repeatedly delayed either because of a lack of financing or a lack of bidders.
Companies active in the Turkish market previously said the selling price of Hamitabat, which was built in 1985 and has an efficiency rate of 48%, should be low enough to incentivise investment.
Even so, when the privatisation administration OIB relaunched its tender last year, the plant attracted a high level of interest.
A total of seven companies entered the race; Turkish power companies Karkey Karadeniz Elektrik Uretim, Enerjisa Enerji Uretim, Limak and Saudi Arabia's International Company for Water and Power Projects were subsequently joined by Eksim, Ozkar and Fernas. (see EDEM 15 February 2013)
Last week, the number was whittled down to three as Limak, Ozkar İnsaat Sanayi ve Ticaret and Fernas İnsaat were shortlisted.
The privatisation of Hamitabat follows the earlier sale of the 457MW Kangal thermal plant to Turkish companies Konya Seker and Siyahkhalem for $985m, while the 600MW lignite-fired Seyitomer plant was sold for $2.24bn.
OIB expects to offload 45 power plants of which 27 are hydraulic power plants and 18 thermal power plants.
Turkey remains on a steep growth curve and expects investments in the energy sector of up to €200bn (€132bn) within the next 10 to 15 years.
This means that Turkey needs to increase its installed capacity by 3.5GW/year to meet growing demand, according to Hasan Koktas, chairman of energy market regulator EMRA. Aura Sabadus
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