Musab Alkateeb, CEO of Siemens Iraq, was born in the country. He says it’s his dream to help rebuild it. “I believe Siemens has the wherewithal to make [this dream] come true.”
The Iraqi government estimates that currently, Siemens provides about 60-80 percent of the transmission infrastructure and about 40 percent of the entire power generation capacity in the country.
“The electricity infrastructure was badly damaged by years of war and sanctions,” he said. “After the war, there has been a great deal of growth in the electricity sector, but there’s still a mismatch between demand and supply.”
In an effort to help reduce this mismatch, Siemens and the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity have partnered to upgrade and provide maintenance to four plants in Iraq. We spoke to local employees at two of these plants, as well as an employee at the Khormala Power Plant near Erbil, where Siemens has an operation and maintenance agreement. They’re working passionately to improve Iraq’s energy infrastructure and thus, its future.
In Kirkuk, Mohammed Alawi, a Siemens project manager, spoke about Siemens’ success in increasing the supply of energy to the city. In 2011, he and his family only got ten hours of power a day at home. “After we start up these [SGT5-4000F gas turbine] units, we increased the number of hours we reached to around 20 hours per day for power.”
Near Erbil, Rudy Qassim, Health and Safety manager at the Khormala plant noted how important electricity was for every aspect of life. People need power for schools, for shops, for hospitals…and to power industry and develop the economy. “I am also living here in Iraq, and I know how it is a shortage of power in this country. And this is what drives me to really work hard for these people.”
Alkateeb and the Siemens team in Iraq are looking for more passionate people to come on board. “The dream, I think, for the Iraq operation, is to increase the number of local employees that we can train on Siemens technology and have them deployed almost immediately to serve our customers’ needs.”
And despite the countless challenges Iraq has faced, he’s optimistic about the future and in Siemens’ vision. “Siemens has operated in Iraq for eight decades. Actually, Siemens never left.”