TNB to cash in IPP stakes

Malaysia’s power utility, Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) is looking to sell its entire share in its independent power producers (IPPs) by August next year to accumulate a cash pile of between MYR1.5bn ($395m) and MYR2bn.

Datuk Jamaludin Jarjis, TNB chairman, said the capital generated will be used to pay off some of the MYR28bn debt that the company has accumulated over the years. He added: “We would not be selling any more power plants, except the non-strategic stakes we have in the IPPs. There is no point in having non-strategic stakes.”

Jarjis disclosed that he was in the midst of selling a stake in one IPP, but declined to say which share and to which company, and hopes to sell another portion by the end of 2001 after successfully completing the sale of TNB’s 20 per cent stake in Powertek Bhd for MYR444m to Tanjong plc.

TNB currently has stakes in several IPPs including YTL Power International (4.4 per cent), Segari Energy Ventures (20 per cent), Genting Sanyen Power (20 per cent) and PD Power (20 per cent).

Singapore power market placed on ice

The launch of Singapore’s electricity market has been delayed until late next year due to the state’s energy body not being prepared on all details necessary to ensure the procedure is carried out efficiently.

The initial launch date was April this year, which was further delayed in October and again in November, but more worries have led to yet another set back.

The move is designed to aid the deregulation and privatization effort and is likely to slow down the privatization process of Singapore’s three state-owned power generation companies, Tuas Power, Senoko Power and Power Seraya. The Energy Market Authority says the system will undergo further testing and is likely to be ready by June 2002.

Nexans consortium lands Hong Kong power cable contract

A consortium comprising of Korea’s Nexans, Pirelli Cavi e Sistemi of Italy and Sweden’s ABB, has been awarded a contract by CLP Power to supply 132 kV cross linked polyethylene (XLPE) power cables to Hong Kong.

The contract will involve replacing oil-filled cables with environmentally friendly and reliable XLPE cables. the new cables will help meet the projected increase in power demand between the years 2001 to 2004.

Meanwhile, Nexans will be busy concentrating on other projects as it was awarded another contract in October. The Korean Electrotechnology Research Institute (KERI), a government body, has given them the task of manufacturing and installing high temperature superconducting wire in transformers and motors to research the wire’s qualities.

Fortum, CEPA ink Thailand project sale

Finland-based Fortum and US-based Consolidated Electric Power Asia (CEPA) have finalized the sale of their respective 17.5 and 33.5 per cent stakes in Thailand’s 1400 MW coal-fired Hin Krut plant.

The project is being developed by Union Power Development (UPDC). Hong Kong Electric has acquired a 26 per cent stake, while Japan’s Chubu Electric and Toyota Tsusho each have 15 per cent share holdings. The existing holders are Tomen Corporation and Union Power which own 29 and 15 per cent stakes respectively.

Both companies made clear their intentions to sell early last year. Fortum decided to concentrate its efforts in the Nordic and Baltic regions, and the added pressure of construction delays caused by local residents protesting against the plant’s potential pollution damage, made both companies’ decision easier.

Enron’s Dabhol to be sued by creditors

Following the Enron collapse, its Indian unit, Dabhol Power Company, cancelled a two-day meeting with four creditors after they filed a lawsuit against the US power company to demand the 2184 MW Dabhol project resume operations. The first phase of the project is complete while the second phase was nearing completion when the credit troubles began.

The lenders, Industrial Bank of India, Industrial Finance Corporation of India, State Bank of India and ICICI, approached the Bombay court to demand the plant start operation to ease the piling debt costs.

The banks proposed that the state utility, Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) buys the power. MSEB has previously refused to do this because of the high selling cost, despite signing a power purchase agreement with Enron.

Ballard in Japan fuel cell venture

Ballard Generation Systems is to team up with its alliance partner, Ebara Corporation, to produce fuel cell power generators for the Japanese residential market.

Together with Osaka Gas, the firms will develop a proton exchange membrane cogeneration fuel cell designed to operate at low temperatures. The design will incorporate a Ballard fuel cell and a fuel processing system designed by Osaka Gas.

News digest

Asean: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has asked the Asean Council on Petroleum (Ascope) to speed up the development of a region-wide network of gas pipelines and power grids that are considered vital if the Southeast Asian nations are to catch up with the developed world. The trans-Asean gas pipeline would link all the gas production facilities in the region through a 10 000 km pipeline.

Australia: The SNI grid link between New South Wales and South Australia has gained draft approval from the National Electricity Market Management Co. (Nemmco), reversing a previous ruling in September against the project. The A$146m ($75.5m) project will add 600 MW to the South Australia and Victoria markets, which both face reserve power shortages and higher electricity prices if new supplies are not found.

Australia: Alstom has won an order worth €34m ($30m) from Origin Energy Power Ltd. for four gas turbines which will be installed in Adelaide, South Australia to meet the Australian summer peak period. The four turbines are intended for open-cycle application at peak load and will be delivered by January 2002.

Malaysia: Jamaludin Jarjis, the chairman of Tenaga Nasional, has claimed that demand for electricity will rise by five or six per cent by the first half of 2002. He added that demand for electricity had not slowed down despite concern over a global economic recession.

Nepal: Elysee Frontiere Ltd. (EFL) will spend $700m on constructing a 3000 MW hydroelectric plant in western Nepal. EFL will give 30 per cent of the power production free of charge to the Nepal Electricity Board, to which the plant will be turned over after 30 years. Profits from the sale of power will be used to fund local projects.

Philippines: Cagayan Electric Power & Light Co., has awarded Sumitomo Corp. a ¥550m ($4.5m) contract for a 100 kW solar power plant. The project will receive $4m in aid grants from the World Bank and will become the biggest solar powered plant in the Philippines with some 6000 solar battery panels.

Thailand: 43 small power producers (SPPs) have applied to be part of Thailand’s National Energy Policy Office’s (Nepo) biomass project programme. The project offers financial support to SPPs who will use biomass plants to generate power.

Vietnam: The first 300 MW turbine group at Vietnam’s Pha Lai Thermo-Power Plant No.2 commenced operation on 19 October 2001. The second turbine group is scheduled to begin operating in December of this year. The plant, which cost an estimated $693.3m, will turn out 3600 GWh annually.