The Syrian Ministry of Electricity has signed a new contract with an Iranian company called Pemaner to rehabilitate its Maharda hydroelectric power station in the northern Hama countryside.
Pemaner is tasked with rehabilitating the plant, which is decades old and was damaged by drones fired by forces opposed to Bashar al-Assad’s regime during the Syrian civil war, to a capacity of 576 megawatts. According to the official SANA news agency, the value of the contract is 99 and a half million euros.
The Syrian government’s Minister of Electricity, Ghassan Al-Zamil, was quoted by SANA as having said: “The implementation period for the plant, which consists of four stages, is 26 months.”
This is the first contract of its kind between the Ministry and an Iranian firm. Mahmoud Ramadan, the Ministry’s director of regeneration, added: “The rehabilitation of the plant includes replacing all the damaged parts and repairing some of them so that they can return to a nominal capacity equivalent to 90 percent of the design from in 40 years ago."
Speaking to the Syrian state-controlled news agency, Jawad Khonsari, the director of Pemaner, aid efforts would be made to complete the work in the shortest possible time. He expressed the company's readiness to cooperate with the Syrian side.
In September 2017, Damascus and Tehran signed a memorandum of understanding on "cooperation in the field of the electrical sector". It also covered the rehabilitation of the Aleppo power station in the north, one of the country’s biggest plants and currently out of service, and the creation of a power generation station in Latakia.
Areas of Syria under regime control have recently witnessed a rapid deterioration in electricity services, in the absence of an organized rationing program. Power outages in some governorates have run for more than 13 hours at a time.
As the IranWire Arabic team has previously reported, Iran's expenditures in Syria have been somewhere between 30 and 40 billion US dollars. These include direct financial support to the regime in credit, supplying oil, providing weapons and covering pro-Assad fighters’ expenses.
Tehran has also invested in state-controlled sectors in Syria, including the oil, gas and phosphates industry, and private ventures in construction, agriculture and food. These shares were obtained via dozens of separate agreements and memoranda of understanding with the Syrian government.