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NEWS/ Middle East Update

GE Energy bags $1bn Saudi deal to supply gas turbines

GE Energy has signed a contract for nearly $1bn to supply more than 30 Frame 7EA gas turbines for the Saudi Electricity Company’s (SEC) Riyadh Power Plant 10 (PP10).

This project, the latest in a series of GE contracts for SEC power projects, will add 2000 MW of much needed power to help support the region’s dynamic economic and population growth.

The PP10 project addresses energy shortages during the summer months and when completed, increases the power capacity in SEC’s Central Operating Area by 20 per cent, helping to improve the reliability and delivery of power to SEC’s customers. PP10 is the latest expansion at SEC’s Riyadh site, which currently has a total power output of 10 000 MW.

The GE Frame 7EA gas turbines for PP10 will be shipped to an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor, with the first units scheduled to enter service in the first half of 2010, and the rest by 2011. These units will bring the number of GE Frame 7EA gas turbines installed in the Kingdom to more than 200.

The fuel flexibility of GE’s Frame 7EA technology will enable the use of Arabian crude oil as the primary fuel for PP10, with distillate fuel to be used for startup and backup operation.

UAE conglomerate Mulk unveils solar power factory plan

A UAE-based solar energy company is to invest over AED200m ($54.5m) to set up a factory manufacturing solar power technology to be deployed in the Gulf and around the world.

Arabian Business said that UAE conglomerate Mulk Holdings and US solar energy developer Suntrof have signed a memorandum of understanding opening the way for the creation of the firm, to be known as Suntrof Mulk Energy Group, which will be headquartered in the UAE and have branches in the USA, Europe and India.

Negotiations were already underway on large scale contracts in Abu Dhabi and Umm Al Quwain in the UAE, in addition to the USA, India and Nigeri.

It is expected to register a turnover of at least $600m once projects are underway.

Arava Power cleared to develop world’s largest photovoltaic field

The Israel Electric Company (IEC) has approved the Arava Power Company’s proposal to build an 80 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) field on kibbutz land in the Arava.

When built, it will be the largest PV field in the world – twice as big as the current biggest field in Germany, according to the Jerusalem Post. The solar panels will be erected on roughly 325 acres of kibbutz land at a cost of $400m.

Arava Power is a joint venture of Kibbutz Ketura and foreign backers led by Yosef Abramowitz. IEC approved the project after determining that it would be able to run a line from the Arava to the national grid within four years.

ABB wins $63m substations order in Saudi Arabia

ABB has won an order worth $63m from the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC), Saudi Arabia’s national power transmission utility, to upgrade 15 substations in the country’s Eastern and Central provinces.

The substations are spread over an area of about 1000 kilometers, and cover a range of voltage levels from 13.8 kV to 230 kV. The project is scheduled for completion in 2011.

ABB said that it would provide a turnkey solution including design, engineering, supply, installation, testing and commissioning.

The products to be supplied include power transformers, medium voltage switchgear, protection and control equipment, as well as SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) solutions to enable better power monitoring and control.

Deadline for Saudi Arabia’s Yanbu expansion delayed

Marafiq, Saudi Arabia’s Power and Water Utility Company for Jubail & Yanbu has extended the bid deadline for the expansions of phases five and six of a power plant at Yanbu Industry City.

Bids for the contract to add two 250 MW steam turbines to the existing combined-cycle power plant at Yanbu are now due on 23 March. Marafiq has prequalified seven bidding groups for the Yanbu project.

The bidders include Saudi Arabia’s own Arabian Bembco, Japan’s Sojitz Corporation, China’s Harbin Power Engineering Company with the local Rafid Group, and Shandong No.3 Electric Power.

The three other bidders are all South Korean à‚— Hanwha, Daelim and Hyundai.

Doha renews co-operation deal with Chubu Electric

The energy ministry of Qatar has renewed an agreement between the country’s two major power operators and Chubu Electric Power of Japan.

A deal was initially signed in 2007 by Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (Kahramaa), Qatar Electricity & Water Company (QEWC) and Chubu.

Under the renewed deal, Chubu has created joint working groups with Kahramaa and QEWC that will advise on power generation and transmission issues, including safety, fault detection and analysis, as well as load forecasting and crisis management.

Chubu will also provide training for Qatari students.

Chevron to establish energy efficiency centre in Qatar

US oil major Chevron is to commit $20m over five years to form a partnership with the Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) in Doha, which will establish a centre of excellence in renewable power and energy efficiency.

The partnership with QSTP will create The Centre for Sustainable Energy Efficiency, which intends to focus on developing technologies in lighting and cooling that work effectively in the Middle East climate.

The energy efficiency centre, expected to open in late 2009, also anticipates conducting research in the development and application of renewable power, such as solar, and developing and training Qatari engineers, scientists and students to build expertise and capabilities within the country.

Proton Energy gets Qatalum plant contract

Proton Energy Systems has been awarded a contract from Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction to supply Hogen hydrogen generators for a power plant that provides electricity to Qatalum, the world’s largest aluminum smelting plant.

Located in Qatar, Qatalum is currently under construction and is slated to begin operations in August 2010. This high quality hydrogen gas will provide cooling to four F-Class GE gas turbines and two steam turbines, which have a combined power output of 1472 MW.

Proton Energy utilizes PEM (proton exchange membrane) technology, which create high purity hydrogen from de-mineralized water and electricity.

Hogen generators employ state-of-the-art solid polymer electrolyte technology that extends the life and reliability of hydrogen generators.