Group buys majority stake in Jordanian state generator

A consortium has gained a majority share in 1.7 GW of generating capacity in Jordan after buying 51 per cent of that country’s Central Electricity Generating Company (CEGCO). The deal saw Arab and Asian investors group Energy Arabia make a payment of $120m for the state-owned company and settle the $200m-plus of debts that it ran up over two decades of financing the building of the country’s biggest power plants.

Jordan’s government will retain 40 per cent of CEGCO and the country’s pension fund the Social Security Corporation 9 per cent.

As part of its drive to privatize the electricity sector, the government also aims to shed its 55 per cent share in the listed company that owns and operates the electricity distribution network in the north of the country, Irbid Electric company, and to sell its 100 per cent holding in the Electricity Distribution Company, the owner and operator of a distribution network that covers south and east Jordan.

Making up the 1.7 GW capacity are large plants Aqaba, Rehab, Hussein and Risha, and smaller stations across the country.

Libya and Egypt consider DC line

Libya and Egypt are considering the installation of a DC interconnector between them that would allow a network to span the Mediterranean basin.

Synchronous networks in the region already exist: from Algeria to Morocco to Tunisia to Spain; from Libya to Syria; and between countries of south eastern Europe. But a wider network that envelops these three would have to address the missing link between Libya and Tunisia. Here, the interconnector is too weak to withstand frequency fluctuations of the kind that Egypt suffers. Its peak load is, at 20 GW, larger than that of its neighbours. A DC line between that country and Libya would act as a filter against those fluctuations and allow Libya to connect to Tunisia for the first time, in turn allowing the creation of the wider network to allow Mediterranean-basin nations to exchange power.

AES to build plants in South Africa

Global power company AES is to construct two gas turbine power plants as part of South Africa’s plan to get the private sector to build 30 per cent of its new generating capacity through independent projects. AES will also own and operate the open cycle peaking plants, one of which will have a capacity of 760 MW and will be in KwaZulu Natal province, the other 342 MW in Eastern Cape province.

State-owned utility Eskom is signing a 15-year power purchase agreement with AES to buy the electricity from the plants when they start commercial operation at the end of 2009.

The plants will be the first private sector projects in South Africa’s move to improve it power reserve margin, which has fallen in recent years due to strong economic growth.

E.ON projects are ‘major step’ into Turkey

E.ON is continuing its $84 bn expansion with a plan to build and operate two 800 MW power plants in Turkey.

The German firm has signed an agreement with Turkish energy company Turcas Elektrik Uretim to create a joint venture company to complete each project. Under the deal, E.ON’s Turkish subsidiary E.ON Elektrik Uretim will own 70 per cent of each joint venture while Turcas will hold the remaining 30 per cent share of the venture.

One plant will be coal fired, the other will burn natural gas. E.ON board member Lutz Feldman said these projects will a major step into Turkey’s energy market for his company. “With its strong growth rate and urgent demand for additional generation capacity, Turkey is one of the most attractive markets,” he said.

New networks for Saudis

Saudi Electricity Company’s (SEC’s) plan to invest $50bn in its network includes the possibility of intra-regional 380 kV transmission networks and a connection between Saudi Arabia’s grid and Yemen.

A US consultant is conducting a feasibility study for SEC on potential links between Hail in the north and Medina in the west, the capital Riyadh and Jeddah in the west, and the northern Tabuk region and the central region.

Other possible links include a 380 kV transmission network from Al-Kharj in the central region to the eastern province. Belgium’s Tractebel and Italy’s Cesi are considering the construction of a $400 m high-voltage DC network between the south of the country and Yemen with a transfer capacity of 500 MW to 1000 GW.

Russia signs energy deal with Australia

Russia and Australia have signed trade and economic agreements that include deals on energy security and the use of nuclear power.

The deals were signed during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent first official visit to Australia, when his delegation included Oleg Deripaska, owner of Basic Element Company, an investment firm specializing in sectors including energy.

Algeria: State-owned energy company Sonelgaz is reissuing tenders for 1200 MW combined-cycle power plants after it received only one bid from a consortium of France’s Alstom and Egypt’s Orascom Construction Industries. The projects are at Terga and Koudiet Draouch.

Egypt: West Delta Electricity Production Company and Middle Delta Electricity Production Company have ordered two M701F gas turbines from each of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd and Toyota Tsusho Corporation. The units will power CCGT plants in 2009.

Kenya: Kenya Electricity Generating Company Ltd has awarded Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd a turnkey contract for the 35 MW third unit at its Olkaria II geothermal project, due to be on-stream in late 2009.

Middle East: Some 800 km of transmission lines are being built to link Saudi Arabia to Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar by 2009. The lines are the $1.1bn first phase of the $7bn Gulf Cooperation Council power grid.

Russia: Atomenergoproject has joined Ukraine’s Energoproject in a long-term deal to develop and design nuclear power plants. The pair will exchange experience in managing projects and cooperate in the development of technologies.

Russia: Electricity monopoly UES has signed a preliminary deal in which South Korea’s power monopoly Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) will help it privatize the country’s electricity industry. KEPCO aims to buy stakes in subsidiaries that UES will sell.

Russia: Power monopoly UES has finished the first phase of its reorganization after spinning off wholesaler OGK-5 and generator TGK-5. In the second stage, UES will divide further into generating, transmitting and selling companies.

Saudi Arabia: In April 2009, Shuqaiq Water and Electricity Company will receive a 400/132 kV substation from Areva in a €67m ($95m) deal that is part of a project to provide desalinated water and 850 MW of power to the Jizan region.

Uganda: The Kagera river project to supply 60 MW to 80 MW of power to Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi will cost $200m. Construction will last from 2009 to 2011, and funding will come from the World Bank and the African Development Bank.