Iraq’s economy holds enormous potential, but a sustained growth will require fixing the country’s battered infrastructure as well as investing heavily in the industrial and government sector.
GE is using its industrial muscle to help support the country’s economic pulse. This week it opens three new offices in the country; in the capital Baghdad, in the southern oil and gas hub Basra, and in the Kurdish regional center in the north, Erbil.
Iraq faces daunting challenges. For example, The Economist Intelligence Unit reported last month that Iraq still suffered from “chronic electricity shortages” that would require the “construction of a number of power plants” and a minimum “$10 billion investment.” It further stated that Iraq’s generation capacity stands at just over half the 15,000-megawatt demand in the summer months.
GE’s power generation technology is reducing these electricity shortages. There are over 130 GE gas turbines feeding the grid in Iraq. By the end of 2011, 18 new massive Frame 9E turbines will start generating 2,250 MWs of electricity at Erbil, Sulaimaniyah and Dohuk power plants in Iraq’s Kurdistan province, extending daily power supply to 20 hours per day for local residents. As part of the multi-million deal, GE will supply parts and service the turbines for the next 12 years.
In Iraq’s vast oil fields, GE pumps, compressors, and other oil and gas equipment help boost the country’s key export and revenue. The oil sector currently provides the country with 90% of foreign trade earnings.
Elsewhere, Iraqi refineries, petrochemical plants, and municipal customers have employed GE’s advanced waste water treatment plants and mobile units using innovative technologies such as the ecomagination-qualified ZeeWeed membrane system. Purified water with consistent quality allows power plants and oil fields improve performance, efficiency, and volume output.
As part of GE’s healthymagination initiative, the company is working with the Iraqi government to improve access to care. The company has equipped clinics with CT scanners, x-ray technology, cardiac catheterization labs, and other key diagnostic devices. GE is Iraq’s sole provider of digital x-rays and mammography technology.
John Rice, Vice Chairman and CEO of GE’s Global Growth and Operations, said this morning in Baghdad that Iraq had “the opportunity to rebuild its economy on a clean slate.”
“Creating cleaner energy while enhancing efficiency and profitability – such an approach will help sustain Iraq’s long-term growth,” Rice said.