NEWS/ Middle East Update

GE signs $500m in deals for Saudi power plants

GE Energy has announced new contracts totaling more than $500m for gas turbines and generators for power plants owned by Saudi Electricity Company (SEC).

GE will supply the National Contracting Company with gas turbines for a 960 MW expansion of the Rabigh power plant in Rabigh City. GE will also provide gas turbines to National Contracting Company Limited for a 111 MW facility in Aljouf City and a 183 MW power project in Tabouk City, both located in northern Saudi Arabia.

Contracts with the Al-Toukhi Company for Industry and Trading of Riyadh include gas turbines to build a 260 MW power plant in Jizan City in southern Saudi Arabia, and a 120 MW power plant in Qunfutha City, located in the western part of the country.

Masdar to begin tendering for carbon capture scheme

Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) has issued a tender for the front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract on its multi-billion-dollar carbon capture and storage (CSS) programme.

According to sources close to the project, a shortlist of selected international consultants has been drawn up, and an award is expected to be made next month.

According to the report in MEED, three sites are believed to have been selected under phase one of the scheme, which is aimed at capturing carbon emissions from industrial facilities and transporting them by pipeline to oil fields, where they will be injected into reservoirs to maintain pressure and facilitate crude extraction. The proposed sites are: an IWPP at Taweelah, the planned Emirates Aluminum captive power plant also at Taweelah and the Emirates Steel Industriess rolling facility near Abu Dhabi city.

Adwea set to launch major gas fired power plant

Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (Adwea) is receiving bids from international bidders for setting up a 1500 MW gas fired power plant and a 378m litre/day desalination plant at Al Showayhat (S2).

The plants, which will be ready for commissioning by 2012, will be located next to the existing power plant at Showayhat (S1). Financial close on the project could be achieved in November.

“We also plan to launch another strategic project, Al Showayhat (S3) to generate another 1500 MW of electric power and 100m gallons (378m litre) per day,” said Abdullah Saif Al Nuaimi, director (privatization) Adwea, while briefing on the authority’s Five Year Strategy 2008-2012.

Suez to create multi-utility firm with Qatari Diar and Barwa

French energy group Suez has signed a strategic partnership agreement with Qatar-based real estate investment companies, Qatari Diar and Barwa, with the aim of creating a multi-utility company to serve the development of new cities in the region.

This partnership includes setting up a joint venture that will focus on multi-utility facilities and services in the fields of power transmission and distribution, water treatment and distribution, and wastewater treatment, as well as various energy services such as district cooling.

UAE, Oman turn to coal for energy

Both the UAE and Oman have embarked on coal powered plant projects to boost electricity capacity, aware that demand for gas could soon outstrip supply.

Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa) is now studying a Dh3.67bn ($1bn) coal fired power plant in the capital. The study, according to project information specialist ProLeads, is slated to be completed second quarter of 2009.

Meanwhile, Oman is earmarking Dh7.34bn for two coal fired plants. ProLeads data show the Sultanate has two coal projects in the pipeline, one is owned by Petroleum Development Oman and the other by Oman Power and Water Procurement Company.

Studies on both of these coal fuelled projects are again expected to be completed in the second quarter of next year.

Taqa and Theolia form Moroccan renewable energy partnership

The Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa) and Theolia, a leader in the production of electricity from wind energy, have signed a strategic partnership agreement in the renewable energy sector in Morocco.

This agreement aims to create a consortium of these two prequalified companies to respond jointly to the international invitation to tender for the construction and operation of a 300 MW wind farm located in Tarfaya, Morocco.

Taqa and Theolia further agreed a 50/50 partnership in Compagnie Eolienne du Détroit (CED), including studying the possibility of optimizing wind sites in Morocco, notably the Abdelkhalek Torres wind farm, which is near to CED’s existing Koudia Al Baida wind farm.

GCC interconnection grid Phase I to come online in 2009

The GCC Interconnection Grid, which will link power grids of the six-member states, is progressing on schedule and the first phase is expected to come online during the first quarter of 2009.

The total installed capacity for the GCC Interconnection Grid is predicted to be 70 GW, 10 GW more than the peak load currently experienced on the member countries’ systems.

Experts hope the system would benefit areas that suffer from electricity shortages, such as the UAE’s Northern Emirates, by reducing generating capacity in each system as a result of sharing capacity reserves.

As of March 2008, almost 87 per cent of the construction of the grid’s substations has been completed, work on other elements such as HVDC converter land and submarine cable, is proceeding as scheduled with 59 per cent of overall work having been finished. And 14 contracts for the large building project have already been awarded to contractors.

France signs nuclear deal with Jordan

France has signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with energy-poor Jordan that sets the framework for peaceful nuclear cooperation between the two countries.

Jordan, home to around six million people, has already reached a nuclear cooperation deal with the United States and hopes to approve similar pacts with Canada, China and South Korea.

The country, which imports around 95 percent of its energy needs, aims to bring its first nuclear plant on line by 2015. Officials have said they hope nuclear power will supply 30 percent of energy production by 2030.

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