Yemen’s largest power plant in need of urgent repairs: ‘Could stop at any point’

Published on 18 March 2015 in News
Ali Ibrahim Al-Moshki (author)

Ali Ibrahim Al-Moshki


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The gas-operated plant in Marib governorate supplies approximatley 40 percent of Yemen’s energy needs. Experts estimate it will be out of use within 16,000 hours at most unless urgent repairs are made.

The gas-operated plant in Marib governorate supplies approximatley 40 percent of Yemen’s energy needs. Experts estimate it will be out of use within 16,000 hours at most unless urgent repairs are made.

SANA’A, March 17—Yemen’s largest power plant will, at most, run for 1.8 years before completely ending operations if urgent maintenance on deteriorating parts is not carried out. The plant provides power for 40 percent of the country.

The General Corporation for Electricity warned on Tuesday that the 1.8-year figure, about 16,000 hours, is the maximum amount of time the country has, and that the gas-operated plant, based in Marib, could stop operating at any point.

The plant began operating in 2009 and has been repeatedly attacked. Those attacks increased in the aftermath of Yemen’s 2011 uprising.

Rashed Abdulalwali, the general manager of the corporation, said the plant is in danger of going out of service very soon, “which will be a real disaster.”

“The plant is in bad condition, and if we do not carry out the necessary maintenance and secure replacement parts, we will be in dangerous risk of shutting down,” he added.

The corporation is currently working with the Ministry of Finance to release funds allocated for maintenance, according to Abdulalwali.  

Taha Al-Zubair, a media officer at the corporation, said that while the plant is projected to run for another 16,000 hours, without replacement parts at hand “it could stop in ten or 100 hours.”

Al-Zubair said the total cost of the needed replacement parts is over $40 million. Buying even half the parts, he said, would go a long way toward keeping the plant afloat.

“Negotiations are ongoing between the ministries of electricity and finance,” he said. “A year ago, the German company Siemens agreed to sell parts to Yemen for a cost of $28 million. The year has ended and we have still not purchased the parts. The company is threatening to sell the parts we need to someone else.”

A source at the Ministry of Interior, who declined to be identified, said the ministry is lacking funds for the maintenance because of the current political situation in the country. The source said it could not pay for the parts in one lump sum, but payment in installments might be an option.