Electricity

Iraqi firm to switch defunct coal plant in Romania to gas, hydrogen

Mass Group Iraqi firm switch defunct coal plant Mintia Romania gas hydrogen

Photo: Government of Romania

Published

March 7, 2023

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Published:

March 7, 2023

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Mass Group Holding told Romania’s Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă it would invest more than EUR 1 billion in turning the Mintia coal plant into a 1.5 GW facility running on gas and hydrogen.

Mass Global Energy Rom, subsidiary of Mass Group Holding from Iraq, agreed in August to buy the decommissioned Mintia coal plant in Romania for EUR 91.2 million excluding value-added tax. It completed the acquisition in December. One of the deal’s terms was to build a matching power plant by the end of 2026 with at least 1.29 GW in capacity, of which at least 800 MW has to work on gas and renewables.

The company’s representatives just met with Primer Minister Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă and revealed the intention to install a hydrogen-ready gas power plant of a minimum 1.5 GW. The investment is valued at more than EUR 1 billion, his office said. The facility would be the largest and most efficient in the European Union in the gas sector, according to the announcement.

Mass Group vows to comply with EU green taxonomy

The project is in line with the EU’s so-called green taxonomy, which acknowledges fossil gas as a sustainable energy investment, but only as a transitory solution before the total switch to renewables and nuclear energy. Namely, all new gas projects must be equipped to use hydrogen.

The first stage will be completed within 24 months and the power plant is scheduled to be fully up and running one year after that, the press release adds.

Romania aims to export electricity

“Romania needs to make the most of its gas reserves, and the government has already taken important steps in this regard. Currently, Black Sea gas can already provide ten percent of the annual domestic consumption, and will, in the coming years, turn our country into one of the EU’s largest gas producers,” Ciucă stated and added that the country aims to export electricity to neighboring Moldova and its partners in the European Union.

Mass Group Holding is registered in the Cayman Islands. The headquarters are in Amman, Jordan, but most of its business is in Iraq. The company operates power plants and cement, iron and steel production facilities.

Mass was the only bidder at the fourth auction for Mintia, when it bought it at the starting price.

Mintia is near the city of Deva in southern Transylvania, on the bank of the Mureş river. It was shut down in July 2021, having failed to meet EU environmental standards. Romania plans to quit using coal by 2032.

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