International World News

UN approves Iraq power equipment contracts

The United Nations has sanctioned multi-million dollar contracts to provide equipment needed in the reconstruction of Iraq including heavy equipment and supplies for the electricity sector. Contracts valued at $794m have been agreed by the UN, Coalition Provisional Authority and Iraqi representatives under the Oil-for-Food programme and have been prioritzed for immediate delivery.

Among those benefiting from the contracts for the power industry is the South Korean firm, Hyundai Corporation, which is supplying generators as part of an $8.3m deal.

Meanwhile, continuing blackouts in the southern city of Basra have been blamed for clashes between UK troops and rioters.

Basrans have been suffering from power cuts since the end of the war with power available no more than 12 hours a day in three-hour doses. In early August power was out for an entire week for many in Basra after the system collapsed. Repairs are required to the region’s main generating plant and continuing sabotage is hampering efforts to repair power lines and substations.

Coalition forces have stepped up security around power stations and damaged power lines to allow workers to make repairs.

News digest

Algeria: Alstom has won a $58m EPC contract from Sonelgaz to build a 300 MW power plant in the northeast of Algeria. The order is part of the country’s drive to boost its installed capacity from 6000 MW to 7044 MW by 2005.

Bulgaria: The Bulgarian parliament has approved the first reading of an Energy Bill which would introduce reforms in line with European legal standards and introduce a market-based system.

Egypt: Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Tomen Corporation are to supply and test two 250 MW steam turbines at Egypt’s Nubaria combined cycle power plant, 100 km northwest of Cairo. The order is worth à‚¥8bn ($68m) and the project is slated for completion in 2005.

Egypt: A consortium of Russia’s Power Machines Group and Voith Siemens Power Generation has won a tender for reconstruction of the existing 12 hydrogenerators at the Aswan Hydro Complex in Egypt. German bank Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau is to advance M85m to the Egyptian government for the project.

Jordan: The Jordanian Central Electricity Generating Company has issued a tender for an EPC contract to build the Kherbet al-Samra power project. Estimated to be worth $150m, the contract calls for the construction of a 300 MW CCGT with two gas turbines, two heat recovery steam generators and a steam turbine.

Libya: South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering & Construction Company has won a $238m power plant order from the General Electricity Company of Libya on a turnkey basis. Hyundai will build turbines and heat recovery generators to raise output from 660 MW to 960 MW by early 2006.

Lithuania: Lithuania has invited bids for large stakes in its two electricity distributors. A 71.35 per cent stake is available in eastern power grid RST and 77 per cent of the western grid VST is being sold. Lithuania hopes to raise g226m from the sales specifying that no one firm can acquire both grids.

Morocco: Morocco and Spain have agreed on a g117.2 ($127.7) project to construct a second undersea cable to transport electricity between the two countries. The cable will double transit capacity to 1400 MW and is due to come into service in 2005.

Nigeria: Royal Dutch/Shell’s Nigerian unit is to spend $770m to refurbish several power plants at a 936 MW complex in Afam, Nigeria.

AES sells Georgian power utility to UES

The sale of a controlling interest in the Georgian capital’s electric utility by AES Corp. to Russian power monopoly, Unified Energy Systems (UES) has been criticized for being secretive and politically motivated.

UES subsidiary, UES Nordwig, bought a 75 per cent stake in the utility from AES for an undisclosed sum, estimated to be valued at around $150m. The sale is part of AES’s programme to dispose of overseas assets. Charges in connection with the sale were partly responsible for a $129m net loss which AES recorded for the second quarter.

Georgians fear that the acquisition could be used by the Russians to apply political pressure on its energy-starved former Soviet neighbour. Georgia has been plagued by power shortages, which led to street protests in January 2001.

Uganda seeks dam partner

Following the decision by AES Corporation to pull out of the controversial World bank-sponsored Bujagali 200 MW dam project in Uganda, the government is looking for another developer and is hoping to persuade South Africa’s Eskom Limited to take over the deal.

AES cited economic reasons for its decision but said that delays had lowered the potential return and increased risks.

Environmentalists oppose the $500m dam, which would create a destructive reservoir and the US Department of Justice is undertaking a probe into allegations of “improper” payments in breach of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

The World Bank and Ugandan government still believe the Bujagali remains the most cost-effective long-term answer to the country’s electricity supply needs.

Siemens secures first Saudi deal

Siemens Power generation has won its first order to build a gas turbine power plant with process steam extraction in Saudi Arabia. The order, worth around $145m, is for the construction and commissioning of the Al Jubail power plant which will be located on the Arabian Gulf, approximately 100 km north of Dammam.

The plant will be owned by Jubail Energy Company and will be the first private gas turbine power plant in Saudi Arabia. It will have a capacity of 260 MW and produce more than 500 t of steam per hour. The plant is scheduled to be completed by May 2005.

The gas-fired plant will be equipped with two Siemens 501D gas turbines, which will be manufactured at the company’s plant in Hamilton, Canada.

Poland tackles stranded costs

Poland has swept away a major obstacle to reform of its power sector with its decision to refinance the stranded costs of domestic power generators through a Euro-denominated bond issue totalling $3.1-3.5bn.

The costs incurred through private investment in the sector since 1994 have prevented generators from competing.

B&V to study Romanian power sector

Black & Veatch has been commissioned to perform a feasibility study into the upgrading of Romania’s thermal power generation facilities. The study will provide recommendations to state-owned power company, Termoelectrica on improving its 28 units.

Romania’s electricity sector is undergoing deregulation including the separation of thermal, nuclear and hydro generation ahead of a planned privatization of some state-owned power plants.

Correction: The short news item outlining Oman’s power plans in the August issue, page 7, of PEi was incorrectly listed under UAE.

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