International News

News digest

Czech Republic: Czech power utility CEZ is to invest between $4bn and $5bn in the upgrading of its power generating facilities. CEZ will launch the upgrading process in 2004. In 2005, CEZ will decide where to construct a new power plant, which will be scheduled to start up in 2012.

Iran: Officials from Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization have said that the Bushehr nuclear reactor will start receiving enriched uranium from Russia in May 2003. The reactor will begin operating in the second half of 2004.

Romania: Four international companies have qualified for the next stage in the privatization of two Romanian power distributors. Electrica Banat SA and Electrica Dobrogea SA must be sold this year under agreements with international lenders.

Russia: National power utility UESR has said that it is in talks with E.ON Energie of Germany to turn over management control of one or more of ten wholesale generating companies to E.ON. The ten gencos will be created as part of the country’s power industry restructuring process. A task force headed by both companies will be set up to prepare a full scale agreement.

Serbia: Elektroprivreda Srbije and Polish company Zaklady Remontowe Energetyki from Katowice have signed an agreement on the overhaul of Serbia’s thermal power plants worth $7.5m. The deal is the latest in a series of agreements aimed at upgrading Serbia’s electricity system.

Slovenia: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Corp. have jointly received an order to replace turbine rotors at the Krsko nuclear power plant in Slovenia. The order is valued at some à‚¥5bn ($42m), and delivery of the equipment is set for July 2006.

Syria: Iran’s Azar Ab Energy Industries Company, a subsidiary to Iran’s Industrial Development and Renovation Organization, is to undertake the reconstruction of the Banias Power Plant in Syria.

UAE: VA Tech T&D has been awarded a new major contract in the UAE to design and build two new 220/33 kV substations for the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (Adwea). The contract encompasses 23 bays of 220 kV indoor switchgear, 75 bays of 33 kV switchgear, and five 140 MVA transformers.

Uganda: Energy state minister Daudi Migereko has invited investors to exploit Uganda’s geothermal potential to generate electricity. He said Uganda has an estimated potential of 450 MW in the Western Rift Valley. Localities include Katwe-Kikorongo, Buranga and Kibiro fields.

International Power buys Umm Al Nar stake

Abu Dhabi has sold its fourth independent water and power plant, Umm Al Nar, to a consortium led by International Power.

The consortium consists of International Power of the UK, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco) and Mitsui & Co. It will acquire a 40 per cent stake in Umm Al Nar from the Abu Dhabi Electricity and Water Authority (Adwea), which will hold on to the remaining 60 per cent indirectly through other assets. The plant’s entire output will be sold to Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Co. under a 23-year agreement.

The plant has an installed capacity of 850 MWe and 613m l/day of desalinated water. The consortium will expand the plant through the addition of a new, gas fired plant with a capacity of 1550 MWe and 95m l/day. Construction of the expansion project is scheduled for June 2003.

The total project cost, including the expansion, is estimated at $2.1bn which is to be financed through debt, shareholder equity and cashflow.

International Power will own 50 per cent of the consortium vehicle, which amounts to a 20 per cent stake in the plant or a à‚£56m ($89m) interest.

Five candidate countries all set for EU accession, says UCTE

The Union for the Co-ordination of Transmission of Electricity (UCTE) has noted that five of the ten candidate countries set to sign the EU accession treaty are already interconnected with the UCTE system and have transmission system operators in place.

The five accession countries that are already interconnected are Slovenia, Poland, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic and Hungary. Nearly 90 per cent of the 75m new EU citizens are already full members of the UCTE and around 450m people are linked via the UCTE grid.

UCTE has warned, however, that with the present pattern of commercial exchanges between the market players within UCTE, the central European grids are already operating near their limits.

Eskom urges united grid

South African power utility Eskom has called for a united African power grid in a bid to boost power supplies on the continent.

Eskom is heading a campaign to achieve a unified grid by 2010. It believes the way forward is the creation of large power highways across Africa, and that this concept should be implemented to allow the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad) ” a blue-print for economic rescue ” and the African Renaissance to become realities. Nepad is modelled on the US Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe after WW2.

Mitsui wins Maritsa deal

Bulgaria’s Maritsa Iztok II thermal power plant has signed a deal with with Mitsui from Japan to rehabilitate units one to four of the plant.

The g226m deal will also include work on units 5 and 6 of the plant. The project is expected to increase the plant’s generating capacity from 200 MW to 700 MW, whilst extending its life by 20 years.

Contractors for the rehabilitation project include Toshiba Corp. Power Systems and Services and Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries (IHI). Mitsui will look to the Japan Bank for International Cooperation for funding.

Maritsa Iztok II is the largest thermal power plant in the Balkans, with a capacity of 1450 MW across its eight units.

Law firm selected for Russian reform

Law firm CMS Cameron McKenna has been picked as lead adviser to Russia’s national electricity company, RAO UESR, on a key element of electricity market reform.

CMS Cameron McKenna is the lead member of a consortium that is advising RAO UESR on the contractual framework necessary to implement the new market arrangements in Russia. Other members of the consortium are NERA and several Russian academics.

Russia’s reform programme will create competition in wholesale and retail electricity markets and is designed to attract investment to the sector.

Iraq power reconstruction in progress

US power supply company, Bechtel has been selected by The US Agency for International Development (USAID) to rehabilitate Iraq’s power infrastructure to get the country back to normality after the war.

In addition to the reconstruction and rehabilitation of power plants and electrical grids, Bechtel will be involved in upgrading airports, seaports road works and some government buildings. Bechtel has recognised the enormity of the task, and has requested expressions of interest from companies interested in taking part in the project.

The project is likely to cost a total of around $15bn.

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