Iraq has received bids by three foreign companies to build a 1,014 megawatt gas power plant north of Baghdad, the Electricity Ministry said on Wednesday.
South Korea's Hyundai Engineering & Construction bid at around $500 million, Egypt's Orascom Construction at $463 million and a Chinese company offered a bid at $337 million, the ministry said in a statement.
The contract is to build the plant, at the town of Taji, 20 km (12 miles) north of Baghdad, installing 6 gas units, each with a capacity of 169 MW, which Iraq bought from Siemens in a contract signed in 2008.
"The sums which the companies offered are considered initial figures, they can be negotiated," the ministry said.
It said the firms had offered to complete installation of the gas units in 24 months, and that the winning company would be announced before end-August.
More than eight years after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein and triggered years of war and sectarian conflict, Iraqis only receive a few hours of power a day from the national electricity grid, even though the country has some of the world's biggest oil reserves.
Earlier this month, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki dismissed his electricity minister after the government said an investigation had uncovered irregularities in power contracts with two foreign companies.
The dismissal of Raad Shallal as electricity minister, which under Iraqi law parliament has to approve, could complicate urgent government efforts to bring in investors to tackle the country's chronic electricity shortages