Engineering firm Metka has been awarded a 640-million-euro project to build a natural gas-fired power plant in Syria in a joint venture with Italy’s Ansaldo Energia, a deal taking the Greek company’s order backlog to almost 1.5 billion euros. «After many months of negotiations, the contract for the construction of a thermal plant was signed on Thursday,» Metka, which has a 75 percent stake in the joint venture, said in a statement. The 700-megawatt energy project, scheduled to be completed in 36 months, will be located 35 kilometers south of Damascus. The contract relates to the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning of the energy plant, Metka added. Analysts described the contract price as «very good.» Shares in Metka, a subsidiary of Mytilineos Holdings, rose 2.45 percent to 8.35 euros on the Athens bourse after news of the deal, outperforming a 0.19 percent advance on the broader market. The Syrian contract brings Metka’s order backlog to 1.4 billion euros as the company prepares for possible further expansion in the region. «There is another contract we are interested in the area but have nothing to announce right now,» a company source told Kathimerini English Edition without providing anymore information.