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Mitsui & Co and US electric power company AES will jointly build a US$280mn power plant in Jordan. The Japanese trading company and Virginia-based AES have won rights to negotiate with the Jordanian government.

The 400,000kW power plant, to be constructed near Amman, will run on natural gas supplied via pipeline from a gasfield in Egypt.

The two companies expect the power plant to start operations in June 2008 and supply electricity to Jordan’s state-run power company for 25 years.
AES will have a 60% stake in the project, with Mitsui holding the remaining 40% stake.

Loans from the US and Japanese state-backed financial institutions, as well as Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Banking, will finance 75% of the project. The World Bank will back Sumitomo Mitsui’s loan.

Mitsui has been trying to expand its involvement in the power plant business, which the firm sees as a strategically important area.

AES operates the power generation and distribution business in more than 25 countries. In the Middle East, it runs power plants in Oman, Pakistan and Qatar.