US companies Enron International and Kenetech Energy Systems have announced financial closure of the $670 million EcoElectrica liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal and cogeneration project, to be built on the south coast of Puerto Rico in the Penuelas-Guayanilla region of the country.

The project involves construction of a 500 MW combined cycle power plant that will burn LNG. The LNG will be imported from Trinidad under a long term contract with Cabot LNG.

Construction of the project is due to begin immediately, with commercial operation due to start at the end of 1999. Power from the plant will be sold to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority under a 22 year power purchase agreement. Today, 98 per cent of the electricity in Puerto Rico is generated from oil fired power plants.

In addition to the power plant and associated LNG terminal, the EcoElectrica project includes a desalination plant that will utilize waste heat from the power generation units to produce water for use in the power plant and to supplement the public water supply in the area.

Around $600 million in non-recourse financing for the project is being underwritten by ABN AMRO Bank and Bank Paribas. Kenetech’s CNF Industries subsidiary sold a 50 per cent interest in the turnkey construction contract for the project to Enron for $15 million plus accrued expenses.

Receiving facilities to be built at the site include a pier, docking and unloading facilities and a LNG storage tank.