Wärtsilä has signed a US$165 million turnkey contract to construct, supply and engineer a major power plant to be built in Nouakchott, Mauritania. The power plant order has been placed by the state utility, Société Mauritanienne d’Electricité (Somelec). When completed, the electricity produced will be fed to the national grid and will also be used to provide energy for the country’s growing mining industry.

The delivery of the equipment and completion of all construction work is estimated to be finalised within a 24 month time frame. Wärtsilä is also negotiating a long term operations and maintenance (O&M) contract for the power plant.

The plant will be powered by a total of eight Wärtsilä 50DF dual-fuel generating sets, which are able to run on both natural gas and conventional liquid fuels (heavy fuel oil and light fuel oil). The intention is to operate the power plant on natural gas from the Banda offshore oilfield, some 80 km from the Mauritania coast. This supply is scheduled to be available in 2015.

This power plant is currently the most important dual fuel power project being undertaken in West Africa. Wärtsilä has delivered several power plants to Mauritania with total power output of over 170 MW.