By Kamila Aliyeva
Key financial departments of Tajikistan offer the European Investment Bank to participate in financing the construction of the Rogun hydro power plant (HPP), the press service of the Tajik National Bank reported.
This issue was discussed at the meeting of Finance Minister Fayziddin Kakhhorzoda and head of National Bank Jamshed Nurmahmadzoda with Vice President of the European Investment Bank Vazil Hudak.
The meeting considered the existing hydropower potential of Tajikistan, a number of investment energy projects of regional importance. The implementation of the Rogun HPP was discussed in detail.
Approximately $4 billion is needed to complete the major energy project. About 2 billion somoni ($227,2 million) have been allocated from the state budget for the completion of the hydroelectric power station last year.
The Tajik authorities also issued securities worth $1 billion for the completion of the Rogun HPP in 2017. At the first stage, bonds worth $500 million were put up for sale on the world markets.
According to the National Bank of Tajikistan, Tajik government bonds by type of investors were sold to fund managers (85 percent), hedge funds (9 percent), banks and other financial institutions (6 percent). Geographically, the bonds were acquired by investors from the U.S. (38 percent), Great Britain (24 percent), EU countries (percent) and Asia (3 percent).
Recently, some media outlets spread information about the sale of a second package of government bonds worth $500 million for the Rogun project. However, there is no official confirmation of this information yet.
In early April of this year, a group of investors, representatives of the American bank Merrill Lynch, investment funds Fidelity, Metlife, BNP Paribas, T.Rowe Price, Barings, Eaton Vance and Danske got acquainted with the macroeconomic situation in Tajikistan and visited the Rogun HPP.
During the visit to Tajikistan, investors visited the Rogun HPP, where they got acquainted with the progress of construction work, visiting various parts of this hydro technical facility, including in the engine room.
They were provided with detailed information on the significance and potential of this hydro power complex, the safety of the dam of the station, the financial attractiveness of the project.
According to the National Bank, Merrill Lynch, as well as investment funds Fidelity, Metlife, BNP Paribas, T.Rowe Price, Barings, Eaton Vance and Danske are active buyers of government securities (Eurobonds) in the international financial market.
The government of Tajikistan, which has suffered from electricity shortages for years, makes all possible efforts to complete the construction of dam that will solve the country’s energy problem.
By implementing the project, Tajikistan will be able to generate about 13 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. This will not only help the country to meet its domestic needs but also turn Tajikistan into a major exporter of electricity.
According to the project, six units are planned to be installed at the station, each with a capacity of 600 MW. The station will become the highest rock-earth dam in the world. This HPP will generate 17 billion kWh of electricity annually.
The dam should form a large Rogun reservoir with a total volume of 13.3 cubic meters. The project is criticized because of the location in the zone of high seismicity, landslide and mudflow processes, and the presence of a tectonic fault filled with rock salt under the base of the dam.
The Rogun HPP will dam the Vakhsh river, which is a major tributary to the Amu Darya river, one of the region's two major water courses. The neighboring countries cautioned water could be diverted from their cotton and wheat fields. Uzbekistan claimed that water flows would be seriously decreased in case the dam is built. However, the World Bank assessment gave the go-ahead to the major project.
The Italian company Salini Impregilo is engaged in the construction of the Rogun power plant. In October 2016, Tajikistan launched work on the construction of a rock embankment dam, 335 meters high and $1.95 billion worth. The cost of the entire hydro power station is $3.9 billion.
At the end of January, the head of the company, Pietro Salini, after a meeting with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, told reporters that the first turbine of the Rogun hydro power plant will be launched on November 16, 2018.
Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva
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