NEWS/ Middle East Update

Region ready to trade energy

Trading is expected to begin on the Middle East’s first energy exchange in early 2006 after Dubai Holding and the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) entered a joint venture for its development.

To be based in the Dubai Financial Centre, the Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME) is expected to initially trade sour crude and fuel oil, though the project is seen as the first step toward establishing a more comprehensive energy exchange for the greater Middle East region.

NYMEX said that Dubai presented a unique opportunity for the global energy futures industry to fill a time zone gap in trading between Europe and Asia. Commenting on NYMEX’s first overseas joint venture, the company chairman, Mitchell Steinhause, said: “DME will fill that gap by establishing an exchange with products that address the growing needs of the regional market.”

Bahrain could sell power assets

Bahrain could liberalize its energy market by 2010, according to an official statement released at the end of June.

The statement was issued the day after the government cabinet met to discuss turning the Ministry of Electricity and Water into a government commission before privatizing it within five years. The statement read: “A consultant has been commissioned to study the issue and to report the findings to the cabinet.”

The production and distribution of electricity is currently the responsibility of the Ministry of Electricity and Water which gets the country’s power from two combined water and power production complexes and three smaller electricity only plants.

Al Ezzel, partly owned by Belgian company Tractebel, was awarded a contract in July 2004 to construct the country’s first privately owned power project.

Gensets to power Wasit extension

Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority has contracted Rolls-Royce to power the UAE’s latest phase of the Wasit power plant extension. The order for the generating sets is valued at over $40m.

The engine maker was contracted with GECO Mechanical & Electrical Limited who will be responsible for local transportation, installation/erection and, in conjunction with Rolls-Royce, the supervision of the commissioning.

Rolls-Royce will provide two Trent 60 duel fuel generating sets which will together generate almost 80 MW. The units will be shipped from the company’s production plant in Ohio, US, in the third quarter of 2006 and are scheduled to be in operation before February 2007.

Egypt strengthens infrastructure

Both Alstom and Siemens have been awarded contracts in the last month designed to strengthen Egypt’s energy infrastructure as the country strives to meet the predicted growth in demand.

Alstom were awarded a g42m ($51m) contract to provide a 260 MW steam turbine generator package for the new 750 MW Talkha combined cycle plant. The facility is part of the country’s five year plan to add 4.5 GW to the grid by 2007. In 2002, the country had an installed capacity of 17 GW.

In a separate project, the Giza based Upper Egypt Electricity Production Company, awarded Siemens Power Transmission and Distribution the g10m ($12m) contract to build a turnkey gas insulated 245 kV substation in southern Egypt. Situated some 100 km south of the capital, the high voltage substation will eventually connect 750 MW of extra capacity to meet Cairo’s soaring demand for electricity.

Abu Dhabi creates new power company

His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the president of Abu Dhabi, has created a Dh4.1bn ($1.1bn) power company that will operate both within and outside of the UAE.

Adwea will control the newly established Abu Dhabi National Power Company having provided the capital required to create it. The national utility will fund 90 per cent of the capital from its resources invested in other power companies, while the remaining shares will be paid for with cash.

The company will purchase stakes in existing energy and electricity projects and companies.

GCC grid construction dates announced

The Gulf Cooperation Council will start constructing the first phase of the multi billion Riyal GCC power grid in September, according to the GCC Secretariat.

The six nation council is expected to announce which countries have been successful in the bidding process by the end of August.

When finished, the project will connect Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar with the aim of providing a cheaper and more stable energy supply.

These four states will be interconnected by 2008 and the whole grid project is expected to be complete by 2010.

Saudi sees start of first IPP

Saudi Arabia’s first indpendent power plant has entered commercial operation, generating power within the Saudi Petrochemical Company’s complex in Jubail.

The Saudi Petrochemical Company contracted Jubail Energy Company to provide the facility under the country’s first ever Build Own Operate and Transfer scheme. Jubail then acquired the services of Siemens to build the plant on a turnkey basis.

The cogeneration plant can generate 250 MW and 510 tonnes of industrial steam per hour.

The National Power Company is now looking to complete other IPPs and IWPPs in the Gulf region.

Qatar launches expansion plan

A four year plan that will see the creation of major electricity and water projects has been launched by the Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation.

One of the fastest growing states in the region will invest around QR5.8bn ($1.6bn) until 2009 to fund 55 new electricity developments and several schemes that will improve the country’s water distribution networks.

Electricity is the main focus of the expansion plan, accounting for QR4.19bn of the amount allocated.

The company’s vice chairman expected the improvements to boost the capacity of electricity substations by 60 per cent.

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