Projects financed by the EDB
Upgrading Ekibastuz GRES-2 and constructing its third generating unit
Ekibastuz is the main source of energy production in Kazakhstan.
Ekibastuz was one of the last major construction projects in the Soviet Union. Its objective was to develop the world’s largest coal deposit located in Kazakhstan, which has unique coal concentration in a limited area (10 billion tonnes in an area of 155 sq km). The project envisioned the construction of two 8,000 MW electric power plants and giant infrastructure (railways, power transmission lines, and a water reservoir).
At the start of the new decade, it was decided to build the third power generation unit at Ekibastuz GRES-2 with a capacity of more than 600 MW.
Bogatyr, one of three opencast coal mines in the Ekibastuz basin, is still the biggest in the world. In Soviet times – the golden era for Ekibastuz – its miners extracted a record-breaking 80 million tonnes of coal a year. Rail freight volumes were also among the highest in the world thanks to super-heavyweight trains, each capable of carrying 12,000 tons. These trains consisted of 200 freight wagons pulled by several locomotives. Topping it all, Ekibastuz GRES-2 has a 420 metre high chimney, which is also a world record.
However, not all the plans for Ekibastuz were realised. The construction project was never completed. Only ten out of sixteen designed power units were built. Between 1974 and 1984 eight units at the first power plant were commissioned, however only two of the eight units at Ekibastuz GRES-2 were ever commissioned (in 1990 and 1993). After that construction was suspended, although, for a variety of reasons, not forever.
Today the power plant has a capacity of 1,000 MW, but it is insufficient to meet the growing demand. The plant’s consumers include dozens of companies and entities. There is significant potential to add new power units at Ekibastuz: its existing water reservoir, ash dump, and chemical, fuel and transportation systems could support the operation of new generating facilities.
At the end of 2005, a joint venture between Russia’s INTER RAO UES and Kazakhstan’s Samruk-Energy was established to operate Ekibastuz GRES-2, marking a new phase in the power plant’s history. Its shareholders set about overhauling the existing units and building new ones.
Analysts have never been in any doubt that Ekibastuz GRES-2 investment projects are vitally important for Russia and Kazakhstan, EDB’s founding member states. Implementing the projects will boost infrastructure development, improve power supplies in both countries, and further their integration.
Accordingly, in 2006, EDB began working actively with Samruk-Energy and INTER RAO UES towards implementing these plans. In summer 2007, the Bank opened a US $ 93.5 million loan facility to Ekibastuz GRES-2 Power Plant for ten years to finance its upgrading. In the summer of 2007, the Bank opened a US $ 93.5 million loan facility to Ekibastuz GRES-2 for ten years to finance its upgrading. The investment project ensured that the second power unit was reconstructed on favourable financing terms.
On 5 July 2010, in the presence of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, an agreement on financing the construction of the third unit was signed in Astana by EDB, Vnesheсonombank, Ekibastuz GRES-2, and its shareholders represented by Samruk-Energy and INTER RAO UES. The signing of the agreement launched a major investment project supported by long-term financing from EDB and Vnesheсonombank.
In July 2011, Kazakhstan’s President launched the project to expand and modernise Ekibastuz GRES-2 at the Astana Industrial and Innovation Forum. The launch was broadcast on a live audio link-up between Kazakhstan and Pavlodar Region.