Minister of International Cooperation Naglaa Al-Ahwani signed Friday an OPEC (Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries) $55m loan agreement to help finance the upgrade of the Assiut power plant, according to the ministry.
The minister signed the deal with the Director General of the OPEC Fund for International Development Suleiman Al-Herbish in Venice, according to the ministry.
By this agreement, Egypt has concluded collecting the needed financial foreign aid for the Assiut project, which comes at a cost of $748m, Al-Ahwani stated, $508m of which is scheduled to be received from foreign donor organisations.
The Assiut power project has previously received KWD 30m ($106m) from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED), and $196m from the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD).
In December 2013, the Upper East Electricity Production Company (UEEPC) and Banque Misr had signed an EGP 285m loan agreement to fund renovations and replacements in the Assiut power station.
Signing the new OPEC loan brings the total amount of assistance provided from the organisation to Egypt since 1976 to $450m, directed to finance 20 projects in the electricity, energy, education, health and irrigation sectors.
The upgrades in the Assiut station, which will operate using traditional fuel resources, will help increase its production to 650 MW. The project comes under the Ministry of Electricity's five-year plan (2012-2017) to establish electricity projects in order to meet the increasing energy demand.
Egypt has been suffering from electricity blackouts for over a year. The outages are attributed to a deficit in natural gas supplies to power stations, with the government promising to import additional quantities, however, the outages have not decreased.
With the aim of increasing the electricity capacity and decreasing the outages, Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker has announced in July that a capacity of 1,300MW will be added in August and October after starting to operate Ain Sokhna power station.