News Digest

Bahrain: Alstom has signed a contract valued at around g40m ($51m) with Alba Aluminium Bahrain to supply six top mounted combustor chambers equipped with Alstom’s advanced burner technology. The new combustors will be installed in ALBA’s gas-fired, combined cycle power plant, Power Station 3, at Manama, Bahrain.

Bahrain: AES announced that it has completed the sale of approximately 39 per cent of its interest in AES Oasis for $150m to the IDB Infrastructure Fund managed by Emerging Markets Partnerships (Bahrain) E.C.

Bulgaria: Bulgaria’s Energy Minister, took part in an official ceremony in Skopje, Macedonia, to sign agreements on the launch of a 150 km, 400 kV transmission line between Bulgaria and Macedonia.

Israel: State-owned Israel Electric Corp. said it will invest $1.16bn in 2004 to develop electricity production and supply systems. The 2004 development budget, comprising about 35 per cent of the company’s total 2004 budget of $3.6bn excluding capital costs, is down 6.7 per cent from 2003.

Oman: Ten international companies are on the short list bidding for Oman’s largest private power project expected to cost over $200m and proposed to be built in the northeast city of Sohar. Those included are International Power, AES, Tractebel, Mitsui, Total and SNC Lavalin Thermal Power.

Poland: Electricité de France has increased its stake in the Rybnik power plant in Poland to nearly 20 per cent, the Polish government announced. The recent deal marks the conclusion of an agreement that was signed by the west European company in July this year.

Russia: UES will name the winner of a tender to manage the Northwestern Heat and Power Plant in January or February 2004. Nine international energy companies submitted bids. Italy’s Enel has said it would bid in consortium with Russia’s ESN Energo. UES did not name the full list of bidders.

Slovakia: The V1 nuclear power plant in the western Slovak town of Jaslovske Bohunice will shut down in 2008, two years ahead of the official expiry of its lifespan. The closure is based on a decision of the state and is not due to any safety or technical problems, said a spokesman for the plant.

South Africa: Eskom has awarded Alstom a g19m ($24.2m) contract to rehabilitate the Unit 2 turbine generator at Duhva Power Plant in Witbank South Africa. In January 2003, the 600 MW unit, which was commissioned in 1980, suffered extensive mechanical and fire damage following the onset of severe vibration due to a blade failure.

Saudi Arabia signs 1 GW cogeneration plant deal

Saudi Arabia’s state owned oil company, Saudi Aramco, has signed four energy conversion agreements with International Power (IP) (60 per cent ) and Saudi Oger (40 per cent). Under the agreement, IP and Saudi Oger will develop own and operate four cogeneration plants, which will supply power and steam to Saudi Aramco under 20 year agreements.

The projects will produce a combined 1074 MWe and 1996 t/h of steam. The deal is IP’s first entrance into Saudi Arabia’s power market. It’s total equity commitment to the project is estimated to be ¬£50m ($92.6m). Financing for the project has begun and financial close is expected in the first quarter of 2004.

The four sites are located in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia and include Ras Tanura (150 MW and 292 t/h), Ju’aymah (308 MW, 567 t/h), Shedgum (308 MW, 567 t/h) and Uthmaniyah (308 MW, 567 t/h). Work on the project is expected to be completed by December 2006.

Engineering, procurement and construction will be carried out by Mitsui & Co. of Japan and Hyundai Heavy Industries of Korea, and GE will supply all the gas turbines.

New submarine cable to interconnect Spain and Morocco

A 30 km, high voltage submarine interconnection cable linking Spain and Morocco’s electric power grids across the Straits of Gibraltar is to be constructed and will be completed in 2005.

Morocco’s state owned L’Office National de l’Electricite (ONE) along with Spain’s Red Electrica de Espana have awarded the $144m turnkey construction contract to a consortium consisting of Nexans and Pirelli.

The work will involve laying three high technology oil-filled paper insulated submarine power cables, which along with an existing link, will transmit a total of 1400 MW at a voltage of 400 kV AC.

JBIC aids Egypt wind project

The Japan Bank for International Cooperation will loan ¥13.5bn ($125m) to the Renewable Energy Authority of Egypt to finance a 120 MW wind project.

The project, named Zafarana Wind Power Plant, will be situated in Zafarana on the Red Sea coast. It is one of many which the state hopes to implement as part of plans to exploit renewable sources by constructing a series of power plants that will amount to 880 MW by 2012.

Egypt is estimated to have a wind power potential of 11 279 MW. If the Zafarana project is approved as a clean development mechanism (adopted under the Kyoto Protocol) it will help Japan achieve its target of a six per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, which the country is committed to under the Kyoto agreement.

Zambia to refurbish Kafue Gorge hydropower plant

The Electricity Supply Corporation of Zambia has turned to an Alstom-led consortium to upgrade the generators at the Kafue Gorge hydro power station in a $17.6m contract and will look to increase output to 6 x 200 MVA. Alstom will achieve this by installing a generator stator and equipment for static excitation.

The 6 x 168 MVA plant is situated 100 km south of the Zambian capital, Lusaka, on the Kafue River.

Alstom’s Hydro Power Segment will manage the project. The station is the primary hydropower station on the Zambian grid network and is in need of the refurbishment as the existing equipment is 30 years old. Completion is due in December 2005.

UES invests in Ukrainian discos

Unified Energy Systems of Russia (UES) has acquired controlling stakes in ten Ukrainian electricity distribution companies in a bid to increase its international portfolio of electric power assets. Details of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

The Russian energy giant holds shares ranging from 16 to 100 per cent in ten of Ukraine’s 27 distribution companies. The ten companies consist of Dniproenergo, Zaporizhzhyaenergo, Luhanskenergo, Lvivenergo, Mykolaiyvenergo, Poltavaenergo and Chermihivenergo.

A target date of 2006 has been set for the full liberalization of Ukraine’s power sector. Due to poor infrastructure within the sector, investment in the region of $35bn is needed within the decade.

In nine of the ten companies, the Ukrainian government owns stakes that it plans to privatize soon. Three years ago the Ukrainian government prohibited UES from participating in the privatization of four distribution companies. The next wave of privatization is planned for this year.