Lay back at Enron helm

Enron chairman Kenneth Lay resumed the position of CEO and president of the Texas-based trading company in August following the sudden resignation of Jeff Skilling. The move by Skilling, who cited personal reasons for his departure, surprised financial markets.

Lay has reassured investors that the company’s business is strong and that no immediate changes would be made. He is expected to appoint two people to help with his increased role.

Enron’s share price has fallen by 58 per cent since its peak late last year. The company has suffered from the problems in California and its poorly performing broadband business, and has also been affected by the long and on-going dispute in India over the Dabhol project.

Lay served as Enron’s chief executive officer from 1985 until early 2001 when he handed over to Skilling, who will now serve as a consultant to Enron and its board.

BioOil is fast-tracked

Canada’s DynaMotive Energy Systems and its alliance partner Techna SA are to fast-track the design and construction of their BioOil pyrolysis plants. DynaMotive has also launched the design of a 100 t/day pyrolysis plant that will form the core of an integrated biomass-to-energy system.

DynaMotive and Techna hope to target markets in the USA, Canada and the UK with a modular design that will allow a building block approach to expanding plant capacity. With this new approach, market deployment of the new technology will be accelerated and DynaMotive expects to demonstrate the commercial viability of its energy systems in 2002.

DynaMotive is now evaluating sites for the demonstration of its 100 t/day system. This plant is expected to produce enough BioOil to continuously fire a 2.5 MWe turbine.

Alstom streamlines ST offerings

Engineering group Alstom has announced that it has consolidated its range of industrial steam turbines following the merger of Alstom and ABB’s power generation unit in 1999. The result is a family of six turbine types.

The consolidated range comprises four single-casing turbines and two dual-casing turbines to cover the

The family of turbines will be known as ST1-6 and will form the basic global offering of Alstom’s Industrial Steam Turbine business.

The merger of ABB’s power generation unit and Alstom two years ago brought together a total of 16 steam turbine models with considerable overlap between models. This is in stark contrast to the two companies’ industrial gas turbine offerings which were well matched.

ScottishPower continues focus on energy business

UK utility ScottishPower is actively seeking opportunities to add to its power generation base in England and Wales as part of its drive to focus on its energy business. The news came as the company announced a pre-tax loss for the first quarter of à‚£52m ($75m) compared with a loss of à‚£12m for the same period last year.

Profits were affected by an exceptional charge of à‚£120m relating to the company’s withdrawal from the home appliance retailing business. ScottishPower announced earlier this year that it would focus on its energy businesses in the UK and the USA.

In the USA ScottishPower’s PacifiCorp business has been boosted by the return of Hunter Unit 1 to operation. The company is also adding generation capacity in order to increase its capacity in the USA by ten per cent by the end of 2001.

In the UK, the company has merged its generation, commercial and trading, and energy supply activities, and is seeking a buyer for its Southern Water unit. First quarter pre-tax profits before exceptionals and goodwill amortization fell from à‚£138m last year to à‚£105m on turnover up from à‚£1.3bn to à‚£1.68bn.

NKK orders up 350 per cent

Japan’s NKK is aiming to maintain its high level of growth in the wind power sector following strong growth last fiscal year. Orders received for wind power plants rose by more than 350 per cent last year, representing an output of nearly 48 MW.

NKK said that it will focus on large-scale wind power projects this year, and is also planning to expand its product range in order to secure a greater share of its home market.

According to NKK, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has forecast that the output of wind power plants operating in Japan will grow to 39 times the 1999 level by the end of 2010.

Wärtsilä up

Finnish power engineering group Wärtsilä has reported a strong rise in orders for the second quarter 2001 despite a drop in net sales. The demand for its power systems has largely been driven by demand from the USA and Latin America.

News digest

Aggreko moves into new territory: Aggreko International Power Projects (AIPP) has won its first contracts in Nigeria, India and China and new projects in Mali, Tanzania, Korea and Saudi Arabia valued at over à‚£15m ($22m). AIPP was established in 1998 as a separate operating unit to handle large multi-MW power projects in areas of the world where Aggreko has no permanent presence.

Deutz profits: Deutz AG has announced its second quarter profit figures, stating that Deutz achieved an operating profit (EBIT) of 316.5m ($15.1m) compared with 322.3 m from last year. After interest and tax, the Deutz Group achieved a corporate loss of 37.4m, compared with a profit of 32.1m a year earlier.

GE appeals: General Electric is expected to appeal against the European Commission’s veto of its $43bn takeover of Honeywell, but it is not seeking to revive the takeover. The Commission expressed concerns over the takeover on the grounds that it might damage competition.

Invensys reorganizes: Invensys Software Systems is to reorganize its business operating units and related management structure. The reorganization will provide a solid platform for developing and supporting the division’s integrated supply chain, automation, and business information solutions on a global basis.

Powergen outsources IT: Powergen Retail has award Cap Gemini Ernst & Young UK a multi-million pound five year outsourcing contract. The service will be run 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is centred upon an IBM mainframe, which provides core system operations including customer records for Powergen’s 3m retail customers.

Rasmusson name change: Rasmusson Hughes & Co., LLC, will change its name to Rasmusson & Willey LLC and will be marketed as the Global Foresight Group to emphasize its focus on providing business foresight through research and analysis.

Tractebel’s new unit: Tractebel has created Tractebel LNG to give the company focus in the LNG market. The new company will build on its existing 20 per cent market share in the Atlantic market, through diversifications into other regions and identifying and developing new sources of supply.

Wood Group takeover: Wood Group Power has acquired Lovegreen Turbine Services Inc., as part of its programme of international development. Lovegreen provides field services for gas and steam turbines in the US and will complement Wood Group’s Heavy Industrial Turbines (HIT) business.

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