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News Digest

International

International: Sudan and Ethiopia have created a joint committee to speed up the proposed interconnection of their power grids. A recent study has revealed that the shortest link would be 22 km and the project would cost an estimated $45m.

Czech Republic: Around 12 foreign energy companies have expressed an interest in the Czech government's controlling stake in power utility CEZ and six regional power distributors. Local reports have stated that the bidders include Electricité de France (EDF), E.ON, International Power and RWE.

Kyrgyzstan: Kyrgyzenergo has been ordered by the government to draw up plans for the construction of a hydroelectric power plant on the Naryn River in southeastern Kyrgyzstan. The Kambar-Ata-2 power plant will have a capacity of 360 MW.

Lithuania: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has signed the first grant agreement with Lithuania to fund the decommissioning and closure of the Ignalina nuclear power station. The agreement will fund project management and engineering services at the plant, including the management and safe storage of nuclear waste.

Oman: PSEG Global has awarded the engineering and procurement contract for a 200 MW natural gas fired power plant to Larsen & Toubro. The project is expected to achieve financial close by the end of 2001 and commercial operation by March 2003. Larsen & Toubro will procure equipment and services from GE Power Systems and Sargent & Lundy.

Poland: Poland's largest generation group, Poludniowy Koncern Energetyczny (PKE) has expressed an interest in purchasing three hard coal mines and four local energy distributors to help cut costs and boost sales. Coal accounts for 50 per cent of the group's costs. PKE was created in 2000 through the merger of seven state-owned electricity producers.

Qatar: AES Corp. has booked a preliminary contract from Qatar petroleum for the Ras Laffan power and water project. The gas-fired cogeneration project will have an installed capacity of 750 MW and will produce 182m litres of water per day. It is scheduled to enter operation in early 2003.

Zimbabwe: The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) has paid its R62m ($7.6m) debt to South African power utility Eskom. A spokesman for Eskom said that the utility would not stop assisting Zesa with power, but stated that all future electricity purchases in excess of 150 MW would be made on a cash upfront basis.

Europe

Belgium: The European Commission gave antitrust clearance Tuesday to German energy company E.ON AG's purchase of Sweden's Sydkraft AB. E.ON, which already owns 29 per cent of Sydkraft and controls 43 per cent of its voting rights, announced in February that it would bid to acquire the remaining shares.

Holland: Dutch energy distributor Remu still expects to be purchased by Spain's Endesa despite a proposed law that could limit ownership in gas and power utilities by private companies. Endesa said in 2000 that it would buy the Utrecht-based utility in its entirety from the municipal owners for €1.1bn ($1bn).

Holland: Fortum became a participant of the Amsterdam Power Exchange on 2 April 2001. Fortum has been active on the Dutch energy market since autumn 1999 when it established a marketing and sales office, Fortum Energy Trading B.V., in The Hague.

Italy: The Italian electricity group Enel has ordered 18 gas turbines worth a775m from General Electric and Ansaldo-Siemens to equip its power stations. The turbines will be used to convert some of Enel's thermal power stations into combined cycle plants.

Spain: The European Commission has authorized the acquisition of a 30 per cent stake in the French power generation company SNET by the major Spanish electricity group Endesa. SNET's ownership is shared between the French coal group CdF (81.25 per cent) and EDF with 18.75 per cent. Endesa has acquired 30 per cent of the CdF holding.

UK: Two of Britain's largest power stations, Fiddlers Ferry in Cheshire and Ferrybridge in Yorkshire, have been put up for sale by Edison Mission Energy of the US. Edison, which paid €1.3bn for the plants two years ago, has been squeezed by falling wholesale electricity prices in the UK.

UK: Enel, Italy's state owned electricity giant, has made a formal offer to buy Southern Water of the UK, a business owned by Scottish Power. Enel did not reveal how much it is willing to pay, but Scottish Power investors would be looking for a price of

UK: Energy Minister Peter Hain has announced one of the government's largest-ever grant offers for the development of energy from biomass. The

Asia-Pacific

China: China's premier, Zhu Rongji, is to crack down on 'chaos' in the economy - signalling a shift in emphasis away from free-market reform and toward tackling commercial excess. Independent Chinese economists said the announcement did not mean China planned to stop economic reform, but it did signal a shift in focus away from liberalization.

India: State Energy Generation in Gujarat (GSEG) has announced the planned construction of a 356 MW natural gas fired power station at Hazira in Surat by 2003. GSEG's director, Sanjay Gupta, said the State Petroleum Corporation involved in oil and gas exploration, had backed GSEG to manage the Hazira project as part of its diversification strategy.

Korea: Korea Electric Power Corp (Kepco) has completed spinning off six power generation companies, according to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy. The six include five thermal power generation firms and one nuclear power company.

Pakistan: The Pakistan government has withdrawn all civil and criminal cases against Hub Power Company (Hubco) to give legal status to the December 17 Wapda-Hubco settlement agreement. The withdrawal of the cases came just three days ahead of the March 31 deadline set under the 17 December 2000 settlement agreement.

Philippines: The winning bidder for the turnkey contract of the $450m Leyte-Mindanao transmission link is being asked to infuse around $40m to bridge finance the initial cost of the project to avoid delay in its targeted commercial operation in 2004. The Asian Development Bank, noted as the primary lender for the transmission project, has set as a condition the passage of the power reform bill before it can give its final OK on the proposed loan. Asisclo Gonzaga of the National Power Corporation said: "The bridge financing is actually an option for us to meet the target of the project's completion".

Vietnam: Electricity of Viet Nam has announced the powering-up of two turbines capable of producing 237.5 MW of electricity at the Ham Thuan-Da Hydropower plant. Using water from the La Nga River in the central Binh Thuan Province, the plant is designed to contribute vital power supplies to the region during the dry season.

Vietnam: General director of Electricity Viet Nam, Dao Van Hung, has said that work on the construction of seven new electric power plants with a combined capacity of 2230 MW is scheduled to start between now and early next year. Three are hydroelectric plants and the remainder are thermoelectric power plants.

Americas

Bahamas: Alstom and Izar Manises have been awarded a turnkey contract to extend a diesel power plant at the Clifton Pier power plant in Nassau, Bahamas. The contract, worth over $34m, was placed by the Bahamas Electricity Corporation.

Brazil: Rio de Janeiro state power distributor Light, which is controlled by EDP, is finalizing the acquisition of utilities Cerj and Escelsa's stakes in a special purpose company created to build the Norte Fluminense thermoelectric plant in the state's Macae region. The plant, which will require a $450m investment, is slated to start operation at the end of 2002.

Brazil: The National Electric Energy Agency (Aneel) has approved four of the 27 hydroelectric dam projects it plans to auction off through the end of next year - Sao Jeronimo, Fundao, Corumba III and Santa Clara.

Canada: Zinc mining giant Cominco Ltd. is taking further steps to cash in on buoyant power prices by selling additional hydro-generated electricity, despite having to cut back on metal production. The Vancouver-based company said in order to free up additional power for sale, it will reduce zinc production at its smelter in Trail, B.C., by 25 per cent in April, May and June 2001. The announcement marks the continuation of a strategy aimed at taking advantage of a strong power demand in the USA at a time when zinc prices have fallen significantly.

Canada: Global Thermoelectric Inc., a developer of solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology, has opened Canada's first SOFC pilot plant in Calgary, Alberta. The most immediate impact of the 3000 m3 plant will be the significant enhancement of Global's fuel cell production capacity, while supporting the company's prototyping and field activities.

Colombia: President Andres Pastrana opened the first unit of the $959m hydroelectric complex Porce II in the northern state of Antioquia. Built by 98 national and 32 international contractors, the unit will produce 392 MW of electricity beginning in May 2001. The project is expected to generate 1600 GWh in a year's time. The unit consists of a dam located between the cities of Amalfi and Anori, a diversion tunnel, a water collection section, a reservoir, machinery facilities and a substation.

USA: Nevada state governor, Kenny Guinn, has signed a bill that would stop the sale of Nevada power plants, halt deregulation and bail out struggling utilities with a new rate system. The bill has been designed to keep Nevada from suffering a power crisis similar to that in California.

Companies

24seven: TXU Europe-London Electricity joint venture 24seven is making plans for a stock market listing by 2003. A float would underline the company's independence as a manager of utility networks. The company, which manages local electricity distribution networks in London and Eastern England, is seeking to expand its operations into Europe and other network infrastructures.

Babcock raises NEM stake: Babcock Borsig Power GmbH (BBP) has increased its stake in the NEM group to 98 per cent through the purchase of a 25 per cent stake from Hollandische Beton Groep. The move is a key step for BBP in strengthening its position in the growing gas fired combined cycle power plant market. BBP was recently awarded the 2001 Internet e-Business Innovation Award by Frost & Sullivan for its ec4ec.com marketplace.

Black & Veatch teams up: Engineering and construction company Black & Veatch has reached an agreement with NeuCo Inc. to integrate its IT solutions with NeuCo's ProcessLink software architecture. The move will allow Black & Veatch's customers to benefit from a real-time performance monitoring, cost tracking and optimization solutions.

Dynegydirect expands: On-line trading portal Dynegydirect has expanded to include an emissions product. It will now offer spot markets for current vintage Environmental Protection Agency sulphur dioxide allowances in addition to the 500 natural gas, natural gas liquids and power products.

Enron jumps: US power company Enron has announced a 20 per cent rise in first quarter earnings of $406m against $383m for the same period in 2000. The increase has been mainly fuelled by strong demand in its wholesale power and gas business. The company also said it would be interested in selling its majority stake in the Dabhol Power Company.

Framatome sales: French nuclear construction group Framatome has reported an 18.5 per cent rise in year 2000 group sales but a fall in net profits of 33.9 per cent. The company said that the fall in profit reflected an exceptional profit figure in 1999. The figures are the last to be published before the company is absorbed into the French nuclear holding group Topco.

Ingenco acquires LRIPG: Engineering and operations consultancy Ingenco has announced the acquisition of Lloyd's Register International Power Group (LRIPG). UK-based LRIPG offers consultancy services to the power industry and employs around 30 staff. It will be rebranded as Ingenco International Power Group.

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