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El Biban Power Plant, Tunisia
CME Energy led the development of the El Biban power project in Zarzis, Tunisia with partners Caterpillar Power Ventures International and Centurion Energy. The 27 MW cogeneration electric power plant was the first independent power project and the first carbon capture power plant in Africa.
CME Energy was lead developer and partnered with Caterpillar Power Ventures International Ltd. and Centurion Energy on the development of the El Biban 27 MW power project in Zarzis, Tunisia in 1999. CME Energy developed, financed, and built the first independent power project in North Africa, while eliminating a major environmental hazard from existing oil fields. El Biban is a 27 MW cogeneration electric power plant that captures gas before flaring and burning it as fuel. The power plant and associated power distribution system was designed to take advantage of flare gas available from a nearby offshore oil field. El Biban was the first example of carbon capture power plants in North Africa. In 2003, it began selling electricity to the Tunisian utility S.T.E.G.
CME Energy also selected Caterpillar to supply solar generating turbines, act as the turnkey construction company, and operate the facility through a subsidiary. Serving all of southern Tunisia, the El Biban power plant not only replaces electricity that would otherwise have been bought from Algeria, it also enables Tunisia to sell electricity onto the Algerian grid. CME sold its interest in the project to Caterpillar Finance in 2004.