Vietnam finalises Ca Mau power plant contracts

Construction has started on what will be Vietnam’s largest power plant amid calls from the country’s prime minister for its generation output to be raised from a planned 750 MW to 1440 MW to help meet rising electricity demand.

Details for the 750 MW Ca Mau plant have just been finalized in a $360m contract between Vietnam Oil and Gas Corporation and Vietnam Machinery Erection Corporation. Siemens will supply the main equipment for the plant, which is scheduled for completion in 2007. The plant will supply power to the $1.2bn Ca Mau gas fertilizer complex and eventually to the nation after the companies involved agreed to plan for the build of a transmission grid around the plant.

Electricity of Vietnam plans to build 14 500 MW of new capacity by 2010 to meet electricity demand, which is predicted to grow by over 15 per cent annually. The company was recently loaned $66m by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation for a new 600 MW thermal plant. The Hai Phong project will be completed by the start of 2009.

Grid projects approved

President Arroyo has approved major power transmission line projects that will provide a more comprehensive power supply to the Philippine islands.

Two 138 kV transmission projects, projected to cost over Php2bn ($37m) will boost supply to the Mindanao grid. The first line will replace an existing system that no longer meets the required standards and will enable a higher power transfer capacity between substations as well as access to future power plant capacity. A second line will supply power to meet the demand of Zamboanga City, predicted to grow 6.3 per cent annually until 2015. This line will provide the option of connecting Basilan Island to the Mindanao grid.

The National Transmission Corporation has also contracted companies from China and Japan to link the power supplies of central islands Cebu and Negros.

Foreign investors still keen on Thailand power IPO

The president of Thailand’s state owned electricity company, EGAT, has said he has been overwhelmed with interest from foreign investors in the company’s initial public offering (IPO), which was suspended last month by the Supreme Administrative Court.

Kraisi Kanasuta said that the $250m-worth of shares allocated for foreign investors were four times oversubscribed. The company aims to raise close to Bht40bn ($969m) from the 16 per cent share offering, although it has warned that it would have to revise its plan if the suspension lasts longer than six months in view of the number of new power projects it is planning to implement before 2010.

EGAT has received approval to construct up to four new power plants and transmission lines before 2010 in a programme projected to cost a total of Bht100bn.

Double plant award for GE

GE Energy has been contracted to supply both equipment and maintenance services for a new 100 MW combined cycle plant being built in Malaysia by an independent power producer.

The natural gas fired plant is being built at the Kota Kinabalu industrial estate in Sabah. Plant owners Sepangar Bay Power Corporation will sell the output to a utility when commercial operations begin in 2006.

GE will supply two Frame 6B gas turbines and two 6A6 generators. It will also provide maintenance services at the new plant for 21 years.

US firm selected for HTS project

Korea’s programme to develop advanced power systems will use high temperature superconductor wire supplied by American Superconductor after it was selected by Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute as partner.

American Superconductor will provide 14 km of first generation HTS wire for the project along with technical assistance with cryogenics and transmission system engineering. The US company was selected following the successful year-long testing of Korean firm LS Cable’s first HTS power cable system, which used HTS wire provided by the US business.

China changes nuclear approach

The Chinese government is likely to award contracts for just two of the four third-generation nuclear power plants it sought bids for in September 2004.

It is believed that Chinese authorities want to examine the performance of the new generation of nuclear technology over a sustained period before embarking on a larger scale build programme. The switch in stance will see the country develop more second-generation nuclear power plants using domestic expertise.

Both Areva and Westinghouse expect to be contracted to build one third generation nuclear plant each.

News digest

Australia: One of the country’s largest energy companies, Australia Gas Light Company, is to demerge into two listed businesses by separating its retail and merchant energy assets from its infrastructure assets.

Bangladesh: Representatives from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have met in Dhaka to discuss establishing a common power grid that could reduce power shortages through greater use of hydropower.

Bangladesh: Unit 1 of the country’s first coal fired power plant has entered operation adding 250 MW to the national grid. The second unit will add a further 125 MW when it is completed in early 2006.

China: A $1.5bn transmission project that will export electricity from Anhui province to the power hungry east has been included in Anhui state government’s five-year plan that runs from 2006 until 2010.

China: Energy company Gohua has contracted Power Machines to service the power plants it supplied equipment for between 1993 and 2000. The 1000 MW Panshan plant and the 1600 MW Suizhong plant are China’s two largest thermal power stations.

India: The national government plans to move to a competition based power system by inviting bids for the creation of four power projects that would each have a minimum capacity of 5000 MW.

India: Neyveli Lignite Corporation and Tamil Nadu Electricity Board are to build a 1000 MW thermal power plant that will use imported coal when it enters operation in 2009.

Indonesia: PT Chevron Pacific has reached an agreement with Garut district administrators over profit share from the Darajat geothermal power plant. The company will build a third unit to generate 110 MW at a cost of over $100m.

Japan: GE is to install its 2.5 MW wind turbines in Japan at three sites during 2006 and 2007. The projects will add 85 MW of wind energy to the national electricity grid.

Pakistan: The 73 per cent privatization of the Karachi Electric Supply Company has finally been completed with a Saudi-led consortium paying $435m for the stake. The share sale had been delayed after the original highest bidder pulled out.

South Korea: Alstom is to provide the design for two 400 MW pump-turbine generator units and share the manufacturing of components with Doosan for the Yecheon pumped storage plant.

Vietnam: The country’s second 500 kV high voltage transmission line has entered operation ahead of schedule. The 1600 km line runs from outside HCM City to a transformer in the province of Ha Tay.

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