Power and desalination contract awarded by Oman

The government of Oman has awarded US firm AES Corporation a contract for the first phase of a $425m power and desalination facility near Barka. The power plant will be developed on a build-own-operate (BOO) basis and represents a major step forward for AES in the Middle East.

The contract award was announced on 27 November 2000 following the naming of AES Corporation as the preferred bidder on 12 November. Construction is expected to start in April 2001. The plant will sell power and water to the Ministry of Electricity and Water under a 15-year contract from April 2003.

The Barka facility will operate on natural gas, generating 427 MW of power and 91m litres per day of water. It will be constructed by Enelpower of Italy and Hitachi Zosen of Japan under a turnkey engineering, procurement and construction contract.

AES will own 90 per cent of the project company and will also operate the plant.

Czech privatization will protect CEZ

The Czech government is to sell its majority stake in CEZ, the country’s dominant power generator, and six power distribution companies as one single package. The decision has disappointed foreign energy companies which had hoped that the sector would be broken up prior to privatization.

The decision to sell the 64 per cent stake in CEZ and six of the country’s eight power distribution companies to a single bidder will protect the dominant position of CEZ as the country prepares for entry to the European Union. A similar model will be used for privatization of the country’s natural gas market.

Several overseas energy companies, including EON and Vattenfall, bought stakes in Czech power distribution companies as the country prepared for privatization. They now face the prospect of owning minority stakes in companies controlled by the winner of the CEZ contract. Vattenfall has already decided to pull out of the sector, selling its stake in VCE to EON.

Russia restructures its tariffs

Unified Energy Systems (UES), Russia’s electricity monopoly, has drawn up plans to liberalize its tariffs by the end of 2001, according to CEO Anatoly Chubais. The move is part of a wider, ambitious restructuring plan that is hoped will alleviate some of UES’ financial troubles.

UES has proposed spinning off its generating, distributing and supply units and deregulating its tariffs. The restructuring plans require the approval of the government, which owns 52.5 per cent of UES. A final decision on the plans could be made as early as December 14.

UES and its regional subsidiaries supply virtually all of Russia’s households. The company is owed around $5bn by its consumers.

Nigeria to install a high voltage link

Nigeria’s Ministry of Power and Steel and the Nigerian Electricity Authority (NEPA) have placed an order with ABB for the design and construction of a high voltage power transmission corridor. The project will improve power supplies to Abuja, the country’s new federal capital, and will include the installation of fibre optics.

ABB will design and install a 144 km, 330 kV link from Shiroro to Abuja. The project is part of an on-going initiative to upgrade Nigeria’s electricity infrastructure and support economic development.

PSEG closes $324m deal

PSEG Global has announced that it has reached financial closure on a 220 MWe, 500 MWth combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Poland. The new plant, near Chorzow, will replace Elektrownia Chorzow, one of the country’s oldest generators.

PSEG Global made the deal through its subsidiary Elcho SP Z.O.O. The plant will be located in Upper Silesia and will enter commercial operation in 2003. Engineering, procurement and construction will be undertaken by Foster Wheeler.

Power and heat from the project will be bought by the Polish Power Grid Company (PSE) and local district heating company PEC Katowice under long-term agreements.

Foster Wheeler will supply its advanced circulating fluidized bed (CFB) boiler technology to the project. Elektrownia Chorzow will continue to operate throughout the construction period.

Bujagali hydro contract awarded

A consortium led by Sweden’s Skanska has been awarded a contract to construct the 200 MW Bujagali hydropower plant on the river Nile in Uganda.

When complete, the run-of-river style plant will increase the country’s electricity production by over 40 per cent.

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