The Chinese government has agreed to finance and build a 212 megawatt gas-fired power station outside Khartoum, press reports said Thursday, quoting Sudanese Energy Minister Awad Ahmed al-Jaz.
The agreement signed here Wednesday by the energy minister and an official of the Chinese Harpen Electricity Company provides for building the plant near the Jaily oil refinery some 45 kilometers (30 miles) north of here with a 150-million-dollar loan offered by the Chinese government.
Jaz said the project, fuelled by gas produced at Jaily, would increase Sudan's current hydro-electric and thermal power generation by 50 percent.
Construction will start in a month with the first phase to be completed in 18 months, when 32 megawatts will be incorporated into the national grid, the minister said.
The following phases would come on line every two months before the station is completed in three years.
Jaz said Sudan was heading towards overcoming electricity shortages with the help of this station and another 50-megawatt thermal plant to be built in Khartoum North and start production next year.
He said several European and Asian companies have offered to invest in the field of electricity in Sudan.
The agreement was signed on the sidelines of official talks that began here Wednesday with a visiting Chinese delegation led by Deputy State Council Chairman Wu Bangguo.
Another agreement was also signed under which China would offer Sudan a grant of 2.5 million dollars to be spent on any project it decides.
Wu was reported to have pledged that Beijing would continue supporting Sudan in international forums and work for lifting international diplomatic and economic sanctions imposed on Sudan since 1997.
He also pledged to further strengthen political and economic cooperation with Sudan.
China has played a key role in establishing Sudan's energy industry, including a 1,610 kilometer (1,000 mile) pipeline from the oil fields to the Red Sea and building the Jaily refinery – KHARTOUM (AFP)
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