The operator of a diesel-fired on-site power plant in the Libyan desert has switched its fuel source to gas.

Plant operator Wintershall, a petroleum- and oil-producing subsidiary of BASF, installed a 7 MW gas-fired turbine with a synchronous generator (pictured) to power its gas and oil separation plant at the Nakhla oilfield after the site’s power demand rose due to the adoption of a water injection process.

The 10.2 MVA generator, along with an instrumentation and control package, were supplied by Italian power equipment firm WEG. The company said its four-pole generator was designed for 6000 V at 50 Hz and temperatures up to 55°C.

WEG said the custom generator features air cooling with a top-mounted air/air heat exchanger and external fans. The air filter is designed to prevent accumulation of desert sand, with all sand particles fed out directly through slits. In addition, the generator is painted white to minimize heat absorption.

The new turbine and generator replace a weekly diesel fuel consumption of 40,000 litres and the 14 MW of surplus heat from the gas turbine is now used to heat the extracted oil up to 70°C in place of five hot water boilers.