NZ engineers win Comoros geothermal project

Geothermal energy consultants Sinclair Knight Merz have been hired by a Dubai-controlled company to make a geophysical survey of the three Comoros islands in an Indian Ocean archipelago between north-eastern Mozambique and north-western Madagascar.

Gafo Energy (NZ) Ltd managing director Mohamed Naqaweh, of Dubai, said the New Zealand company was chosen for the 120 million euro ($NZ213m) project because of its global experience in geothermal research.

The Dubai ambassador for the Comoros, Zoubert Al Ahdal, said he was delighted that Gafo was making such a significant investment in the island state to help wean it off dependency on diesel-powered electricity generation.

Gafo, which has developed geothermal power generation along East Africa's Great Rift Valley and nearby volcanic islands, was last year granted exclusive rights for Comoros geothermal projects.

New Zealand company records show Dr Naqaweh holds just under a quarter of its shares, and the rest are owned by a nominee company in Auckland.