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By Stephen Kalin
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt, March 13 (Reuters) - General Electric Co has delivered a shipment of gas turbines to Egypt as part of a $1.9 billion deal to boost power capacity, and will invest $200 million in a planned economic zone near the Suez Canal, the firm said on Friday.
The announcements were made at a conference where Egypt hopes to secure billions of dollars in investment after years of political turmoil, focusing on energy and the Suez Canal zone.
GE says it generates about 30 percent of Egypt’s installed power capacity and the gas turbines will help ease the load on the overburdened energy grid ahead of peak summer usage.
Egypt is suffering its worst energy crisis in decades, with high consumption and low output causing regular power blackouts.
GE had delivered 34 turbines to Egypt out of a planned 46 total as part of a project to provide 2.6 gigawatts of power to the grid by May 2015, the U.S. conglomerate said in a statement.
“I track this project personally. We know how important this is to Egypt,” GE co-chief executive Jeff Immelt told a news conference in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh.
Electricity minister Mohamed Shaker said GE’s delivery was part of Egypt’s plan to add six gigawatts to the grid by the end of 2015, pushing total capacity to 38 gigawatts.
Shaker said 3.6 gigawatts would be provided by new power stations at a cost of $2.65 billion, with GE providing 2.6 gigawatts and Germany’s Siemens and Italy’s Ansaldo Energia providing the remaining one gigawatt.
Siemens and Ansaldo Energia were unavailable to comment.
Immelt said the value of the 46 turbines was proportional to the amount of power GE was providing from the overall 3.6 gigawatts. That would put the value of GE’s turbine deal, which was signed in December, at about $1.9 billion.
The company also said it was investing $200 million in a manufacturing and training facility in Suez City, which GE sees as part of an economic hub being built near the Suez Canal.
The Suez project, announced by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi last August, aims to turn the canal area into an international industrial and logistics hub. In a separate scheme, the army began digging a second canal in August to allow the two-way traffic of larger ships.
GE’s investment in Suez City would focus on power generation, renewables, water, oil and gas, aviation and rail transport, it said. (Reporting By Stephen Kalin, Writing By Shadi Bushra, editing by William Hardy and David Evans)