4 Feb 2002 – Alstom predicts orders for new power plants to fall by a third in 2002, according to the group’s recent projections. The French manufacturer, one of the top three suppliers of plant equipment and services said the main cause was the expected decline in orders from the US market.

Alstom says its own order book will not be affected significantly since it is not so heavily exposed to the US market, unlike the two leaders in the sector, General Electric and Siemens who between them supply between 85 per cent and 90 per cent of world demand for gas turbines.

Last year, gas turbines accounted for roughly 80 GW out of the total orders for all types of power generation technology of some 140 GW.

In the last few weeks a number of major US power groups have announced curtailments to their construction programmes in response to the slowdown in the economy as well as the need to reassess the viability of projects, given lower equity and debt values following the collapse of Enron.

Alstom vice president Nick Salmon said that orders in the US this year could fall as low as 5 GW, before settling down later in the decade at about 25 GW a year.

Alstom has reported strong demand for power equipment other than gas turbines elsewhere in the world – especially in Europe, the Middle East and China.

Reporting last month on the order book for the first nine months of 2001, Alstom CEO Pierre Bilger said, “Whilst global market conditions remain uncertain, we expect order intake to be stable next year.”

Today, the Alstom Power division said it had won a $5m contract for a gas turbine driven generating system from Oman. The order, placed by Occidental of Oman is for two Tempest 7.7 MW generators to power water injection pumps at the Safah East Lobe water flood project.

“This is a significant order for an unusual application as the majority of our gas turbine systems are used in the oil and gas industry,” said an Alstom spokesman.