A wholly-owned subsidiary of Osaka Gas Co of Japan together with Dublin-based ESB International are to buy a €500 million 755 MW gas-fired combined-cycle plant near Bilbao in the Basque region of northern Spain.

International and Gas and Power Investment Co Ltd (GPI) and ESBI, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ireland’s state-owned electricity company, will each acquire 50% of the equity of the plant in Amorebieta when commercial operation begins in autumn next year.

Amorebieta will be the first internationally owned independent power plant in the Spanish electricity market. It is Osaka Gas Co’s second major acquisition after the firm acquired an equity interest in the 845 MW Tenaska Gateway project in Texas, USA, in June. Osaka Gas aims to expand its scope of operations from gas-based to multi-energy.

ESB chief executive Padraig McManus said the partnership positions his company well to “make further successful overseas investments in Spain and Europe”.

Shell Espana will buy all of Amorebieta’s output based on a long-term power purchase agreement.