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NEWS/ Middle East Update

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GDF-led group is preferred bidder for Saudi gas fired plant

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French utility GDF Suez and the Saudi Aljomaih Group were appointed preferred bidder for Ryadh PP11, a gas fired independent power project (IPP) with a capacity of 1730 MW, situated approximately 125km of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The total investment cost is expected to be over $2bn. The electricity will be sold through a 20-year power purchase agreement to the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC). The partners bid with General Electric turbines and with Hyundai Heavy Industries as their contractor.

“The consortium (of GDF and al-Jomaih Group) offered the best complied bid of 0.1079 riyal ($0.288) per kilowatt-hour,” said Amer al-Swaha, head of IPP at state-run SEC.

The other bidding consortiums included Britain’s International Power with Saudi Oger and Korea Electric Power; and Mitsubishi, Acwa Power and Tokyo Electric Power.

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Germany’s SolarWorld acquires Qatar JV stake

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SolarWorld, Germany’s biggest solar company by revenue, has acquired nearly a third of a Qatar-based polysilicon joint venture in a move to shift production abroad in light of rising labour costs at home.

The joint venture, Qatar Solar Technologies (QST), will invest more than $500m in the construction of a solar-grade silicon plant with a planned annual capacity of 3600 tonnes. Production is scheduled to start in the third quarter of 2012 and German solar equipment maker Centrotherm will be technology partner for the Qatar-based joint venture. SolarWorld is to own 29 per cent in the joint venture.

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UAE power demand seen tripling by 2020 – minister

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Electricity demand is likely to triple in the UAE by 2020 and nuclear energy will play a key role in meeting future needs.

Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said the country’s interest in developing nuclear energy was “motivated by the need to develop additional sources of electricity to meet future demand projections and to ensure the continued rapid development of its economy”.

“Analysis conducted by official UAE entities has concluded that national annual peak demand for electricity is likely to triple by 2020, reflecting a cumulative annual growth rate of roughly nine per cent,” he said.

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Desertec picks Morocco as host for first CSP scheme

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A group aiming to source 15 per cent of Europe’s power from sunny climes has chosen the country in which it will be and the nature of its first plant.

The Desertec Initiative aims to use renewables in Middle East and North Africa to achieve its target by 2050 and has decided a concentrating solar power (CSP) scheme in Morocco will be its initial project.

Desertec is in talks about the plant with the government of Morocco, a key nation in the plan because of its lack of natural resources and its commitment to renewables.

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Kuwait launches tender for delayed Al-Zour North IWPP

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Kuwait’s Ministry of Electricity and Water has issued a tender for the first phase of the long-delayed Al-Zour North power and water project.

The winning bidder will construct phase one of the plant on a design, build, operate and maintain basis. Kuwait approved the construction of a power and water plant at the site in September 2009.

The first phase of the plant will have capacity of 1500 MW and 102m gallons a day.

The ministry has prequalified six bidders for the project including GE of the USA, Japan’s Mitsui; Germany’s Siemens; Spain’s Iberdrola and Canada’s SNC Lavalin.

Interested parties have until 30 May to submit bids following a pre-tender meeting, which will be held on 12 April. The first phase of the plant is scheduled to start operating in April 2012.

Al-Zour North will begin operating commercially in April 2013.

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Qatar asks power plants to increase output

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Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (Kahramaa)has approached power and water companies to determine if they can increase output.

Kahramaa is talking to the firms in charge of three schemes at Ras Laffan. Projections for Qatar’s demand are an extra 170 MW of power by 2014 and an additional 40m gallons per day of water by 2016. North Ras Laffan includes projects A, B and C, with a total capacity of 4.5 GW and 200m gallons per day of water. Kahramaa has given the companies their forecasts for demand for the next 20 years and wants to know if the projects’ capacity can be increased.

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Abu Dhabi hydrogen power plant deal set for delays

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The UK/UAE Hydrogen Power Abu Dhabi joint venture will not be able to launch a construction deal for the world’s biggest hydrogen power plant until the second quarter of the year as it has been unable to complete offtake and financing agreements.

Sources close to the scheme told MEED that negotiations with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (Adwea) and potential financiers are yet to be completed. Deals over how much carbon dioxide Adnoc will take from Masdar and how much it will pay for it have not been completed, according to executives working on the scheme.

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EX-IAEA inspector Blix joins UAE nuclear board

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A former chief weapons inspector of the International Atomic Energy Agency will head a board to advise the United Arab Emirates on its nuclear programme.

Hans Blix, ex-chief of the UN nuclear watchdog, will chair the nine-member board, which will meet twice a year.

The board will provide the UAE nuclear programme with the expertise and knowledge of a highly select group of experts.

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