A failure in ageing equipment is being blamed for an explosion which ripped through a Tobruk power plant, the noise of . . .[restrict]which was heard throughout the city on Saturday night.
Despite the size of the blast, no one was injured. After a preliminary investigation, initial suspicions of sabotage were ruled out by city officials.
A local engineer at the General Electric Company (GEC) , which owns the plant, said there had been a technical fault in the steam section, due to poor maintenance and inadequate quality procedures. The fuel oiled-powered plant is used both to generate electricity and to desalinate water, to supplement Tobruk’s brackish supplies from its aquifers.
The GEC has been involved in a long programme to upgrade its generating capacity throughout the country towards 8.2GW. However, because so many power plants were in poor condition, it was decided to entirely replace, rather than try to repair most of them, which currently have a total generating capacity of 6.29 GW. Tobruk, with its strong association with the post-independence regime of King Idris, was not top of the Qaddafi regime’s list for new power stations. The GEC plant in the city has suffered regular problems in recent years. [/restrict]