Hungarian Emfesz says to start building new plant

BUDAPEST Thu May 15, 2008 11:55am BST

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BUDAPEST May 15 (Reuters) - Hungarian gas wholesaler Emfesz said on Thursday that next year it would start building its planned gas-fuelled power plant which will have a total capacity of 2,400 megawatts.

The first two of the plant's six 400-MW units will be operational by 2011 and construction is expected to be completed by 2015, Emfesz said in a statement.

The plant will be built in northeast Hungary, near the border with Ukraine, at a total cost of 1.5 billion euros ($2.33 billion).

Emfesz said it chose the village of Nyirtass as it is close to a gas pipeline in Ukraine which will ship natural gas to Hungary. There are two high-voltage power lines and Hungary's second biggest Tisza river is also close, which can provide water for cooling.

If completed, the new power plant will be Hungary's biggest, surpassing the country's only nuclear power generator, Paksi Atomeromu.

Emfesz said the project firm Emfesz Eromu Kft was already operational, and it had applied for an environmental licence.

"According to forecasts, Hungary's electricity needs will rise by at least 2.5-3.0 percent per year," Emfesz said.

Emfesz, owned by Ukrainian businessman Dmitry Firtash, is Hungary's biggest independent gas wholesaler and accounts for about 20 percent of Hungary's natural gas imports.

The firm buys gas from Russian-Ukrainian gas agent RosUkrEnergo, partly-owned by Firtash and Russian energy giant Gazprom (GAZP.MM). (Reporting by Krisztina Than)

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