GE Energy has signed a $1 billion contract in Saudi Arabia to supply 30 gas turbines for a Saudi Electricity Co. power plant in the capital city of Riyadh.

The contract is the latest in a series of power-generation projects the Atlanta-based energy giant has landed in the Middle Eastern country.

The Frame 7EA gas turbines will add 2,000 megawatts of power to the Riyadh Power Plant 10.  This turbine model’s fuel flexibility technology allows it to primarily run off of Arabian crude oil, with refined fuel used for startup and backup operation.

Saudi Arabia’s electricity demand is growing at a rate of 8 percent a year, according to a GE Energy news release.

“The government’s stated goal is to add 30 gigawatts of generating capacity to the electricity grid by 2020,” said Ali Saleh al-Barrak, president and CEO of the Saudi Electricity Co.

GE Energy is a subsidiary of General Electric Co.  Saudi Arabia is one of GE’s primary target growth markets.  The company has offices in the Eastern Province, Jeddah and Riyadh and is doing business there in many of its units, including energy, health care and appliances.

Last April, GE Energy opened a 125,000-square-foot service center in the Saudi city of Dammam, providing support for gas turbine problems throughout the Middle East.

The center is set to open in phases but should be fully operational by 2010. 

In May, the company signed gas turbine and generator contracts in Saudi Arabia worth more than $500 million.

GE has more than 600 employees in Saudi Arabia. 

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...