YAOUNDE Feb 26 Cameroon's 216-megawatt Kribi
gas-fired power plant, majority-owned by U.S. power firm AES
Corporation, will start commercial operations in late
March, a senior executive said on Tuesday.
Geremie Bitanga, technical director of the Kribi Power
Development Corporation (KPDC), said the gradual startup and
testing of the plant's 13 engines would begin on Wednesday,
after the gas supply was successfully connected this week.
"From March 23 the plant will be ready for commercial
operation and be operating at full capacity," he told reporters.
KPDC is 56 percent owned by AES, with the remaining 44
percent in the hands of the Cameroon government.
The 173.2 billion CFA franc ($345 million) plant, built by
Finland's Wartsila, will run on natural gas from the
off-shore Sanaga-South field operated by Cameroon's state oil
company, SNH, and independent producer Perenco - the first major
commercial development of Cameroon's substantial gas reserves.
The plant will boost Cameroon's electricity capacity to
around 1,240 megawatts, helping to meet domestic demand, rising
at an estimated 8 percent per year. The World Bank has estimated
power shortages cost the Cameroon economy two percentage points
of GDP growth a year.