State-owned Société Mauritanienne de l’Électricité (Somelec) has awarded a €128mn turnkey engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to Finland’s Wärtsilä for a power plant at Nouakchott. On 30 October Wärtsilä announced that the plant would comprise eight 50 dual fuel generating sets [nominal power capacity 16mw each]. These will be able to run on natural gas or heavy or light fuel oil and will mainly provide power for expanded mining operations. Completion of the plant is expected within 24 months.

Mauritania’s current installed capacity is 144mw, with power plants mainly burning diesel fuel. More than one-third of Mauritania’s electricity comes from hydropower schemes. Demand is expected to grow by 12% in 2012. The country has a comparatively low electrification rate of 60% and suffers from severe energy shortages. The plant is expected on-line in 2015, initially running on oil and later on gas following the proposed development of the Banda offshore field (MEES, 27 August). (CONTINUED - 264 WORDS)