The completion of the substations that comprise part of the Syria-Jordan and Syria-Turkey Interconnection project by Siemens PTD has created a strong business relationship with the Syrian Public Establishment for Electricity Generation & Transmission. MEE finds out how the German T&D company was able to achieve this.

The connection between Syria and Jordan, as well as between Syria and Turkey are, of course, part of the wider regional project, the Seven Electric Interconnection Project (EIJLLST) connecting Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Syria and Turkey.

Within this, the southeastern Mediterranean block (SEMB) includes the networks of five countries (Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon) that are synchronously interconnected. The block has a total installed capacity of 31.1 GW. In 2001, the electricity demand was around 127 TWh and the peak load was about 19 GW. The total length of electrical lines is approximately 46750 km.

The existing interconnections in the Mashreq Block are part of what was orginally called the Six Countries Interconnection Project (EIJLST), and includes Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey.

The Nasrieh-Tayem link is the backbone of Syria’s grid
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Interconnection between different networks generates many benefits and advantages for the utilities concerned and ultimately for the energy end users (households and industry). In addition to the benefits obtained from energy trading, the interconnected power systems are more reliable, require less installed capacity and are more efficient.

Libya was connected to Egypt in 1998 through a double circuit 220 kV overhead line and Egypt was connected in 1999 to Jordan, via a 400 kV submarine cable from Aqaba in Jordan to Taba in Egypt. The Jordan system was connected in 2001 to Syria through a single circuit 400 kV overhead transmission line from Amman in northern Jordan to Der Ali in south Syria.

To the west, Syria is connected to Lebanon and to the north a 400 kV line exists towards Turkey, but at present it is not operational. The existing synchronous block, from Libya to Syria-Lebanon will be part of the main Union for the Co-ordination of Transmission of Electricity (UCTE) network when the interconnectors between Tunisia and Libya are closed.

Syria is part of the Mediterranean ring, with 400 kV interconnections to its neighbouring countries Lebanon (via the Dimas substation), Jordan (via the Der Ali substation), Turkey (via the Aleppo substation) and Iraq (via the Tayem substation).

All these above-mentioned 400 kV interconnecting substations in Syria have been executed or at least expanded by Siemens PTD of Germany.

Syria-Jordan extensions

The start of the 400 kV interconnection projects by the state-run energy utility Public Establishment for Electricity Generation & Transmission (PEEGT) was in 1997, with the announcement of the first 400 kV substation tender for Der Ali and Dimas. Siemens PTD won this tender and started the works in 1998 for the so-called 400 kV Syria-Jordan Interconnection.

For Siemens PTD the order comprised the delivery of five air-insulated substations (AIS) 400/230 kV on a turnkey basis, with the aim to link the high voltage networks of Syria and Jordan, and prepare the interconnection with Lebanon. With a project term of only 18 months, the 400/230 kV substation expansions and new constructions in the Damascus region were processed in close cooperation with PEEGT and its consultants.

With no major difficulties, the substations were handed over to PEEGT according to the contract milestones in October and December 2000, respectively. In the presence of the Heads of States of Syria and Jordan, the 400 kV connection between Syria and Jordan was switched on in mid-February 2001 at the Der Ali substation.

Going native

In order to achieve this first milestone in Siemens PTD high-voltage activities in Syria after a break of many years, the company had to set up a strong project organization in their head office in Germany, as well as in Syria. Prior to this no Siemens regional company existed in Syria, but in 1998 a Siemens PTD project office was established Furthermore, in order to better serve the market primarily Syrian personnel were chosen. Therefore, communication with the Syrian customer and other local organizations and authorities was fairly straightforward from the very beginning. The office was established in the Mezzeh area of Damascus, close to the offices of PEEGT.

Over the years, the Siemens organization in Syria has changed very little. This was one of the key success factors. The project staff had a very close and trustworthy co-operation with PEEGT and all other related local organizations. In the Middle East the principle ‘one face to the customer’ is very important. For all Siemens PTD projects PEEGT imposed a very short execution period, which forced the company to intensify its internal and external communication.

After it had gone through the learning curve of the first project, Siemens PTD benefited from this previous experience and could therefore serve their customer even better, e.g. by providing shorter execution periods.

Successful extension projects

This major 400 kV project was followed by the award from PEEGT to Siemens to extend the three substations Der Ali, Dimas and Kisweh in mid-2001 in the context of ongoing plans to further develop grid connections between Syria and Jordan and between Syria and Lebanon. Included in this turnkey project was delivery of the high-voltage components for the 400/230 kV outdoor substations, along with control and protection equipment, upgraded auxiliary systems, civil works, installation and commissioning services.

PTD handed over the extended 400/230 kV outdoor substations right on schedule in August 2003 after a project term of just 12 months.

In 1999, Siemens PTD was awarded the 400 kV Syria-Turkey interconnection project with major works in Aleppo, Zeyzoon, Hama and Homs. The main part of this project was successfully completed in 2001. The order for the interconnection project with Turkey included the expansion of the Aleppo 400/230 kV station and of the Hama 400 kV station, as well as erection of the new 400 kV susbstation at Zeyzoonstation in northwestern Syria. Its existing 230 kV section was also expanded.

Besides the high-voltage components with circuit-breakers and surge arrestors from Siemens PTD, the scope of delivery also included the power transformers (300 MVA), protection and control equipment, all auxiliary installations, construction, assembly and commissioning, along with an extensive training program for the personnel of the customer. This was done in the factories and also on site.

With the handover of the 400 kV Zeyzoon station to PEEGT in May 2001, this marked Siemens success completion of a second major 400 kV interconnected network project in the country. Siemens PTD benefited from technical and organizational similarities with the Syria-Jordan interconnection project, which has been in operation since early 2001.

Delivery dependability?

Timely processing of the two large-scale projects and the quality of the goods and services provided led to a further major order from PEEGT. From 2004, a 400/230 kV station at Lattakia on the Mediterranean coast of Syria came into operation to enhance network capacity and availability in the region. This was a greenfield project for the German company. The execution period started in November 2002 and handing over to PEEGT took place in September 2004, three months ahead of schedule.

Commissioning of the 400 kV Lattakia substation, which is part of the link of the electricity grids between Syria and Turkey, represents another highlight in the Syrian government’s vast network interconnection project that has been in progress since 2000.

The project encompassed the turnkey construction of the 400/230 kV outdoor substation in Lattakia and expansion of the existing 230 kV Zeyzoon substation. In addition to the high-voltage devices the delivery scope included transformers, protection and control equipment, as well as construction, installation and commissioning services.The scope of supply also included two 300 MVA transformers, high-voltage circuit-breakers, surge arresters and all control and protection equipment.

Syria’s network backbone

Besides these two major projects, Syria-Jordan (in southern Syria) and Syria-Turkey (in the northern part), PEEGT awarded another very important 400 kV project to Siemens PTD in November 2003. It is called 400 kV Syrian Network and comprises of five 400 kV substations across the country from the western area of Nasrieh/Adra/Jandar to the centre location of Palmyra and finally to the eastern station of Tayem which is situated close to the city of Der Ezzor at the Euphrate river.

The Nasrieh substation that marks the western end of the central Syrian link
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Similar to the previous projects, Siemens relied on its strong project organization both in the head offices, as well as in Damascus. The major challenge for this project was to virtually work in parallel on five substations throughout the country with the longest distance from the Adra substation to the Tayem Ssubstation being 500 km. A lot of project management attention was spent on planning of the logistics and the site works, and in choosing strong local partners for local transport, as well as civil and installation works, so that no major problems occurred

The project has been finalized in October 2006.

All in all, the Siemens PTD projects have been handed over to the customer with only minor issues, and the substations are in service for several years without major problems. Siemens PTD has proved to be a reliable partner for PEEGT in order to make sure its ambitious interconnection plans are being realized on time and in a high level of quality. Siemens PTD hopes to continue its activities in Syria doing more challenging projects for the benefit of PEEGT.